Durant’s Time is Now

The King is in blue.

Much has been said and written about Kevin Durant’s outstanding 2013-14 season, including his “dethroning” of LeBron James as the league’s best player. This season has been Durant’s best since coming into the NBA in 2007, averaging 32.2 points and 5.6 assists per game – both career highs. Durant is versatile – shooting over 50% from the field and over 40% from the arc while being an inside presence when he needs to be. There’s nothing to dislike about his game, much like LeBron’s – but it’s the distance he’s put between himself and the rest of the league this year that is truly fascinating.

Since being drafted by the Sonics, Durant has made his aspirations to be the best player in the NBA no secret. Unfortunately for the former Longhorn, he had to live in the shadow of a player that could end up going down as one of the best to ever play the sport. By the time Durant was a rookie, James was playing in his fourth All-Star game, had made the All-NBA First Team, and had just come off a run to the NBA Finals. While LeBron’s high school games could sometimes be found on ESPN, Durant was relatively unknown until he burst into the national spotlight in Austin his freshman year. Being as good as LeBron for a year or two was never going to make fans think he was the best player in the league – he had to make sure there was no question about it.

At this point in the season, Durant has scored over 300 more points than the next best player. He’s made 53 more field goals while attempting 52 less shots than Carmelo Anthony (James is currently third in total points scored). While Durant is usually near the top of the free throw leaderboard every season, he currently has 157 more free throws than any other player in the league. It’s not just scoring where Durant has taken a step forward, as only he and James sit in the Top 20 in assists without being point guards.

The advanced statistics support the theory that Durant has taken the leap over James and the rest of the NBA as well:

Player Efficiency Rating:

  1. Kevin Durant – 30.4
  2. LeBron James – 29.1
  3. Kevin Love – 27.7

Offensive Win Shares

  1. Kevin Durant – 13.3
  2. LeBron James – 10.8
  3. Kevin Love – 9.9

Defensive Win Shares

1. Paul George –  5.9

8. Kevin Durant – 4.0

(LeBron James not in Top 20)

Total Win Shares

  1. Kevin Durant – 17.4
  2. LeBron James – 13.8
  3. Kevin Love – 13.3

Here’s a guide to exactly what Win Shares are if the stat is new to you.

Aside from now being sure that Love has been the third most productive man in the NBA this season, Kevin Durant is clearly the best player in the world at the moment.  Part of LeBron’s problem (if you dare to say he has one) is that he seemed to go through a few lulls throughout the course of the season, while Durant was electric the entire way through. The forward has put up over 40 points 13 times this season, as well as going over 50 twice in the last two months. On the other hand, James has reached 40 only three times this season, and has been under 20 points 13 times (Durant has scored under 20 only four times).

As for what Durant himself thinks about this season, you can bet he’ll hold off judgment until the Thunder are either eliminated from the postseason or he’s holding an NBA Finals trophy. Anything but a championship is looked upon as failure by the fans and media, and soon Durant could be getting the treatment that James got for so many years before the move to Miami. A good month of playoff basketball could help the world of basketball see that there’s a new king in town.

2014 Lollapalooza Lineup — It’s Out, and it’s Tremendous

Eminem is one of the headliners in Chicago this summer.

 

The Lollapalooza lineup is finally out in the open, and it’s caused quite a stir. Leading the way in Grant Park from August 1-3 is rap superstar Eminem, a veteran at the festival that doesn’t tour much these days. The other two headliners are Outkast and Kings of Leon, with a plethora of supporting acts throughout the day. Check out the lineup below and get your Lollapalooza tickets here.

  • Eminem
  • Outkast
  • Kings of Leon
  • Artic Monkeys
  • Skrillex
  • Calvin Harris
  • Lorde
  • The Avett Brothers
  • Foster the People
  • Zedd
  • Sebastian Ingrosso
  • Krewella
  • NAS
  • Above & Beyond
  • Childish Gambino
  • Broken Bells
  • Spoon
  • The Head and the Heart
  • Cage the Elephant
  • Young the Giant
  • Chase & Status
  • Interpol
  • Lykke Li
  • Chance the Rapper
  • Phatogram
  • Cut/Copy
  • Flosstradamus
  • Fitz and the Tantrums
  • Grouplove
  • Chvrches
  • The Glitch Mob
  • Portgual. The Man
  • Gramatik
  • Chromeo

And many, many more! Check out the full lineup.

 

Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao v Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley II

The last time Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley met was in June of 2012.  Promoted as “The Perfect Storm”, the bout went the full 12 rounds and ended in a split decision. Bradley walked away as the victor.  The decision was questionable and left fans wanting a victor determined by punches, not votes.

PacquaiovsDelaHoyaOn April 12th the two meet in a rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Get your tickets now for best selection.  Who knows, you might be sittings next to Will Ferrell if you go with ringside seats.

 

2014 MLB Season Preview: Chicago White Sox

Konerko is a veteran leading a team of youngsters

 

The Chicago White Sox were nothing short of a mess in 2013, with almost 100 losses to go along with one of the highest payrolls in the Major League Baseball. The White Sox have made some big moves over the last few months to try to right the ship, catching the Detroit Tigers in the AL Center might be a pipe dream at this point.

Transactions:

7/30 – Traded Jake Peavy, received 4 players

8/9 – Traded Alex Rios, received Leury Garcia.

12/10 – Traded for Adam Eaton

1/2 – Signed Scott Downs

(Did not re-sign Gavin Floyd)

Projected Lineup:

C: Tyler Flowers
1B: Jose Abreu
2B: Gordon Beckham
SS: Alexei Ramirez
3B: Matt Davidson
LF: Alejandro de Aza
CF: Adam Eaton
RF: Avisail Garcia
DH: Adam Dunn

Pitching Staff

SP: Chris Sale
SP: Jose Quintana
SP: John Danks
SP: Erik Johnson
SP: Felipe Paulino
CL: Nate Jones

The White Sox are being picked to finish 3rd in the division by most analysts, and that sounds about right. I’d bet the house on the Tigers winning the Central once again, and at least one wild card spot will come from the AL East, if not both. I can’t see the White Sox making the postseason in 2014, but they could manage getting close to 80 wins.

2014 MLB Season Preview: Chicago Cubs

Things haven’t gone well at Wrigley recently

 

The Chicago Cubs haven’t had a winning record since 2009, and the fans are getting restless.  Last year saw an anemic offense once again, and the eventual firing of manager Dale Sveum. Rick Renteria, previously the Padres bench coach, was hired to take over in November to try to steer this club in the right direction. Not too many moves were made in the offseason, but the Cubs will still look to get to .500 and maybe into the playoff hunt if the chips fall into the right places.

Off-season transactions:

12/16 – Signed LHP Wesley Wright

12/27 – Signed RHP Jose Veras

2/13 – Signed RHP Jason Hammel

2/15 – Signed UTIL Emilio Bonifacio

The Cubs didn’t spend any big money in the offseason, instead filling out some spots with buy-low options that could turn out well for them. Jose Veras will step into the closers role, while Jason Hammel will find his way into the back end of the rotation.

C: Welington Castillo
1B: Anthony Rizzo
2B: Darwin Barney
SS: Starlin Castro
3B: Luis Valbuena
LF: Junior Lake
CF: Justin Ruggiano
RF: Nate Schierholtz

Pitching Staff:

SP: Jeff Samardzija
SP: Travis Wood
SP: Edwin Jackson
SP: Jake Arrieta
SP: Jason Hammel
CL: Jose Veras

The Cubs will likely not reach .500 this season, as the talent is just simply not there — yet. The immediate future doesn’t look good for the northsiders, but they may not be too far away from competing in the NL Central once again.