Keldon Johnson Shows Out in Summer League Against Grizzlies

Keldon Johnson had a disappointing start to his NBA career. In his Summer League debut, he only posted 4 points. The Kentucky and Keldon Johnson haters were riding pretty high seeing such an underwhelming performance. I’d like to see all of them now after his game on Tuesday versus Memphis.

The 29th overall pick dropped 29 points, 7 boards and 3 assists. Basically by Summer League standards, He. Went. The hell. Off. Falling so far in the draft must have gotten to him, because he looked like this game was personal. Take a look at the highlights:

There’s that outside game we always knew he had. Also, seeing Keldon Johnson consistently getting out in transistion, especially when he is leading the charge, is going to be one of the most fun things to watch this summer.

Gregg Popovich has a way of figuring out exactly what was wrong with a player and turning them entirely around in 24 hours. And he just proved again why he is the best coach in the NBA. If Pop takes Keldon under his wing and develops him the same way he built Kawhi Leonard, then Joshson could end up being one of the league’s best players. (yes, I know that is a hot take after one good game in the Summer league.)

The Cincinnati Reds Are Actually the Best in the National League in Something

The Cincinnati Reds are having another typical Cincinnati Reds season. A sub .500 start leading into the All Star break with glimpses of hope but ultimate disappointment is about as typical as it gets. But, one of those glimpses of hope that has not dwindled away just yet has been the shining glory of the Reds’ season. The Reds are actually the best in the National League in something.

Are the Reds the best team in the National League?
God, no.

Are they the best in the NL Central?
Not even close.

Maybe they have the best batting average, home runs or runs scored?
Let’s not get our hopes up any time soon.

The Reds offense has been underwhelming all season, but their defense has been their something to behold. In fact, the Reds lead the National League in runs allowed. Only giving up 319 runs all year before their July 2 game versus the Brewers. And if you can believe it, this is the second best runs allowed in the entire MLB only giving up more than Tampa.

The Reds’ defense has been unreal this season.

Other things the Reds are the best in the National League in:
– Fights with the Pirates
– Lease amount of losses to the Pirates by 13+ runs (@cubs)
– Runs scored on the Marlins in a single game (14)

Julius Randle Just Got PAID

In the war zone that is NBA Free Agency, many stories get swept under the rug or just obliterated by Woj Bomb after Woj Bomb. I feel like that is exactly what happened to Julius Randle.

Since Randle isn’t one of the biggest names in the league, his free agency move sort of got left in the wake of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. Not to mention that everyone will be talking about Kawhi Leonard nonstop until he signs. But Randle had one of the biggest days out of the non all star camp.

The Knicks signed Julius Randle to a 3-year, $63 million contract on Sunday. If he wasn’t being paid handsomely, and I mean Chris Hemsworth handsome, to go to the Knicks I would absolutely hate this move. Since Anthony Davis took his ball and went home last season after his Lakers’ move fell apart at the trade deadline, Randle had to put the team on his back. Now, he has to do that again without the help of Jrue Holiday. With a now stacked Eastern Conference, it will be even harder to make the playoffs.

Posting an impressive 21 points and 8 rebounds a game last season, Randle should have been a little hotter of a commodity this free agency. Regardless, he got the money he wanted and gets the chance to improve even more in a place where the pressure is solely focused on the owner. Three more 21 and 8 seasons could make him one of the biggest names in the 2022 summer.

Remember when the Knicks were supposed to get KD, Kyrie and Zion?

Remember When Malik Monk Dropped 47 on North Carolina

Some of the best Kentucky Basketball moments come against North Carolina. Either the Cats play their best games against the best opponents or they just really don’t like UNC. I like to think that both are true. So many great performances, but few stack up to a 103-100 win. And Malik Monk coming up just short of the all-time single game scoring record with 47 points made it that much sweeter. If only he could have dunked on Luke Maye.

Some of the best moments against UNC:
Tayshaun Prince 5 three’s to start the game capped off with the heat check of the century
– John Wall’s performance against his home state
– 2011 March Madness win to send UK to the Final Four
– Anthony Davis’ game winning block
– Ashton Hagans 9 steals
– And this:

I’m no basketball coach. I’m just blogger living in my mom’s basement. But how do you leave the guy with 44 points wide open with the game on the line? That’s like not putting a hand in Austin Rivers face with 1 second left and a 2 point lead… which UNC also did.

The Next Point Guard of the Boston Celtics

Well, it’s official. Kyrie Irving has opted out of his contract with the Celtics and all signs point to him making an exit from Beantown. While it is sad to see such a great player leave the team, his constant antics and trolling of the media proved that he cared more about playing with our hearts than he ever did about playing basketball. Just not worth the trouble.

So with Kyrie gone… who is going to be the starting point guard? Terry Rozier is an option, but the general consensus has been that he is not ready to lead the team just yet. So what does Danny Ainge do? Who does he reach out to in free agency or for a trade? There are many viable options that would be great fits for Boston.

Kemba Walker– First Choice
Danny Ainge has done a change of sorts when it comes to Boston’s team building strategy. Instead of massing assets, he has cleared as much cap space as possible and can now go after some of the biggest free agents. The number one in particular is Kemba Walker. Coming off a 25.6 point, 5.9 assist all-star season, Boston needs to do whatever they can to secure their point guard for the future. Someone like Kemba is exactly who Terry Rozier needs to learn from. He is truly a selfless player that knows exactly when he needs to take over a game and when he needs to keep everyone involved. According to Woj, the Celtics are the favorite to land him so, LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN, DANNY.

D’Angelo Russell– Next Best Option
Since all signs are pointing to Kyrie signing with the Nets, D’Angelo Russell is going to need a new team. If Kemba Walker somehow falls out of Boston’s grasp then D’Angelo Russell is the next best option. After a breakout season in 2018-19, DLo will be one of the steals of this summer’s free agency. Another 21 points and 7 assists per game would make him a fine addition to the Celtics young core that Ainge and Stevens love so much. Even if the Celtics do get Kemba and no longer need Russell, I pray that he does not go back to the Lakers.

Image result for d'angelo russell stats

Ricky Rubio– A Fine Consolation Prize
Ricky Rubio is hitting free agency this offseason and, in a recent interview with EuroHoops, he mentioned that he is interested in joining the Celtics this offseason. Rubio has so many positives that it would be hard not to be interested. First, Boston would never have to worry about him playing the “me-ball” that Kyrie did. Rubio averages 7.7 assists per game in his career. He is the perfect embodiment of Kevin Garnett’s “We Not Me” mentality. Next, Rubio is the veteran guard that the young core needs. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum would flourish with a facilitator who does not care if he scores. Lastly, Rubio would be one of the cheaper options. His last contract with the Timberwolves and Jazz paid him $55 million over 4 years. Definitely an affordable option for the Celtics and allows them to go after a top center.

Image result for ricky rubio

Any of these players would be great for Boston. Each bring a unique playing style that Brad Stevens could mold into a contender in the East. Even if all of these fail, Rondo could be an option and even turning over the keys to Rozier may prove us all wrong.

Follow us on Twitter @soft7sports for more Boston including who the next center should be and me @soft7wic for a follow back.

Kentucky Basketball 2019-20 Projected Starting 5

With the offseason in full swing and recruiting basically over, all that is left for the Kentucky Basketball fans of the world is to sit back and speculate about the season to come. Hey, at least we are good at football now. Watching our entire lineup get picked at the NBA Draft every year is rewarding and depressing all at the same time. We’re proud, but wish that at least one of them would stay another season. Luckily, we get a new batch of ballers every single year and watch the process repeat itself.

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So, as I wait for my cats to hit the hardwood again, it is time for me to jump to conclusions like Perry Stevenson jumping to block a free throw. Here is what the starting lineup should be for the 2019-20 season. As always, I am here to argue. Let me know what you think on Twitter and throw us a follow @soft7sports and me @soft7wic.

Projected Starting 5 for Kentucky

PG– Brad Calipari
*record scratch

I’m totally kidding, but you’re lying to yourself if you think Ellen Calipari hasn’t thrown out the idea at least once. Maybe on senior day if he wasn’t dead set on transferring.

The REAL Projected Starting 5 for Kentucky

PG- Ashton Hagans
SG- Tyrese Maxey
SF- Kahlil Whitney
PF- EJ Montgomery
C- Nick Richards

Ashton Hagans proved last year that he can do much more than just run an offense. He was one of the best on-ball defensive players we have seen since DeAndre Liggins. Hopefully, he has developed a jumpshot.

Tyrese Maxey has an uncanny ability to get to the rim. Think of John Wall with the ability to shoot outside of 15 feet. He’s going to be a special player and I can see him assuming the starting role at point guard if Hagans is underperforming.

Kahlil Whitney is the player I am most excited for next season. After watching hours of his highlights, he reminds me of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the jumping ability of Hamidou Diallo. Expect two alley-oops a game and several players’ careers being ended by getting dunked on.

EJ Montogomery has major expectations to live up to. After a rather disappointing 2018 season, his decision to return to Lexington for his sophomore year will make or break his future. A 6’10” versatile forward that can step out and hit a mid range shot consistently looks great on paper. Now, he needs to prove it this season.

Nick Richards has had one of the more mediocre careers of Cal’s Kentucky bigs. Better than Skal, but average nonetheless. When he decided to come back to Kentucky for his junior year, Calipari told him that he expects him to be the best big man in the country. Something like that may have given him all the confidence he needs to finally make something of his college career. Some guys are just late bloomers, like Willie Cauley-Stein. It may take more than a year, but they can still be lottery picks when it is all said and done.

The starting 5 is never static and it could change multiple times throughout the year. The power forward position is the most uncertain. EJ would be the best option, but Nate Sestina will be breathing down his neck all season. As will Keion Brooks and Dontaie Allen. According to Coach Cal, Johnny Juzang has been playing out of his mind so far in practice. If he keeps it up and proves to be as good of a shooter as Tyler Herro, then he will be a very real possibility as the starting small forward or shooting guard. Don’t forget about Immanuel Quickley either. He will jump at any opportunity to take the starting role from Hagans.

CJ Conrad’s Uncertain Road to the NFL

Despite being one of the highest rated prospects at tight end for the 2019 NFL Draft, CJ Conrad from Kentucky went undrafted. Due to an enlarged pulmonary artery in his heart discovered in his physical examination, Conrad was not even allowed to participate in the NFL Combine.

Several weeks later, a second opinion found the medical issue to not be as significant as once thought and he was declared eligible to play in the NFL. The Giants may not have made the smartest decisions during the draft, but they made one hell of a pick up afterwards, signing Conrad as an undrafted free agent.

Image result for cj conrad giants

The weeks between the diagnosis and the second opinion had to have been some of the hardest of Conrad’s life. But anyone who knows him will say that his positive attitude carried him though. He was even positive about his future regardless of if included football or not, telling his parents, “No matter what happens, I’m a college graduate, things will work out the way they will and I’ll be successful no matter what happens.” (USA Today). That’s one of the most mature, glass-half-full outlooks you’ll hear from an NFL prospect.

And now that football will most certainly be his future, his attitude is what will keep him there and make coaching staffs fall in love with him. Even missing out on thousands of dollars from being undrafted, Conrad is still optimistic that he will make the Giants 53 man roster.

The road that led CJ Conrad to the NFL had to be one of the most emotional of anyone in his class. One second he was a top TE prospect and the next he was never going play in the NFL. That couple week span between his first and second opinions had to have been emotionally devastating. He probably even thought about applying for a couple coaching jobs. The mental fortitude he needed to stay confident that everything would work out fine shows just how strong of a person he really is.

Good luck on the Giants, CJ. All of BBN is rooting for you.