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man, of Triple-A Fresn

  • 27 Jun
    Shooting and age. They make this monstrous new superteam, this juggernaut that just decapitated its biggest long-term threat in the West, unlike any that came before.Shooting makes every fit easier, because great shooters do damage even when they dont have the ball.This isnt the 2011?Miami Heat, with two ball-dominant wings who couldnt spread the floor when the other guy took his turn.This isnt the 2004?Los Angeles Lakers?--?or the later Steve Nash and?Dwight Howard?version, either.The?Golden State Warriors?now have four All-NBA players ages 26 to 28. The?LeBron James-era Heat had three stars,?not four, and one of them --?Dwyane Wade?-- was older in their first year together than any of Golden States current stars.The collective shooting on this team is outrageous -- including perhaps the two greatest shooters ever, with a seven-foot gunslinger about to enjoy the cleanest catch-and-shoot looks he has ever had. Only three guys had a larger gap than Kevin Durant between their actual field-goal percentage and the mark we would have expected based on the difficulty of those shots, per SportVU data provided to ESPN.com. One of the three was reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry. Things are about to get much easier for Durant and Curry.Defenders have to be inside the jerseys of Curry, Durant and?Klay Thompson?at all times. Do you know how powerful that basic reality is? Even if the Warriors changed literally nothing about their offense -- if Durant just played the role of?Harrison Barnes?-- they could be the greatest scoring team in history. The lane will be wide open for cutters. They can generate open 3s at will, just by running everyone off picks until some defender falls behind.But the offense will be different. Thats the point. As great as they are, the Warriors over the past two seasons found the going much tougher in the playoffs. The whole league watched the?Oklahoma City Thunder?and?Cleveland Cavaliers?ugly up their offense by switching everything on Curry. A healthier Curry would have exploited that more often this past postseason, but it still felt at times like the Warriors were dancing around the 3-point arc, waiting for some event -- a defender messing up a switch or Curry launching step-back fire.It was hard work, and it happened far from the basket. The Warriors now have more ways to enter the teeth of the defense. Durant can drive. He can run a nice pick-and-roll. He shot 61 percent on post-ups last season, per Synergy Sports, and honestly, that number kind of makes you want to cry. He has a ton of experience screening in the pick-and-roll, and his old dance partner,?Russell Westbrook, is a so-so jump-shooter that teams are generally?fine with leaving open; theyd try to go under and stick with Durant. Currys main pick-and-roll partner,?Draymond Green, is a so-so jump-shooter that teams are generally fine with leaving open.What are you supposed to do with a Curry-Durant pick-and-roll? You cant leave either party open, even for a millisecond. You cant switch -- unless you hide your point guard on Thompson so that a bigger wing has Curry, and probably not even then. The Warriors offense was beautiful and intricate. It will still be beautiful, but now it can also be simple: Dump the ball to Durant and get the hell out of the way. Simple is really useful during the playoffs, when defenses focus hard enough to track the intricate.There will be fit issues; Durant will not get to hold the ball and jab step for five seconds as often as he did in Oklahoma City. The Heats Big Three and those great Lakers teams were not nearly as good in real life as they looked on paper, at least not right away.But again: shooting. Curry is fine playing away from the ball; he might be the most dangerous off-ball player in the league. Thompson might never have to dribble again.The Warriors have limited resources to fill out a bench and acquire large humans, especially since they apparently chose?Shaun Livingston?over?Festus Ezeli?as the mid-sized salary to keep while squeezing in Durants max money.?Six?months ago, the Golden State brass preferred Ezeli, but they have no confidence left in his knees or his game. The Warriors have only the minimum salary and room exception, worth about $2.9 million, left to fill the roster. That buys you nothing in a world of infinite cap room.?Jon Leuer?is making eight figures.They need some competent size to cinch up their rebounding;?Chris Kaman?and?JJ Hickson?arent getting it done. That is a real problem. Then again, there are a ton of leftover big men and very few cap-room teams with a need?up?front. But Durant fits their switchy defensive scheme. And he showed a new frenzy on that end in the postseason -- better effort, smarter reads and scary rim protection. He can guard every position in a pinch and provide more length and rebounding than Barnes in the revamped Death Lineup.Every contender builds with one eye on James, and Durant is a much better one-on-one option against him than Barnes. That is crucial in preserving?Andre Iguodalas body.This team will be top-heavy -- and thin. They will need to find a couple of?Richard Jefferson-like?ring chasers. That is the price you pay for loading up on stars. They would have eventually faced the same general money crunch anyway, with Barnes?and then Curry on max contracts. This price is a little steeper, since they lose rotation players and access to the full mid-level exception, but you get Durant and figure the rest out.Most championship teams are top-heavy and thin. No matter how deep you are, if a star gets hurt in May and June, you are probably sunk.In the end, that is the best reason for choosing Durant over Barnes, Ezeli and?Andrew Bogut: He is a hedge against an ill-timed injury to Curry, Thompson or Green in a way no seventh or eighth guy ever could be. The cruel irony is that?the post-James Harden?Thunder know better than anyone the importance of a hedge against superstar injuries. The Warriors can engineer depth when things really count by keeping two of their four stars on the floor at all times.This star hoarding is only possible because of an unprecedented spike in the salary cap, and both the league and players union must reckon over what they have wrought here. We have spilled a ton of internet?ink over Currys absurd below-market extension, but the cap leaped so high that the Warriors could have fit Durants salary even had Curry signed a max-level deal back in 2012. The only extra cost would have been Livingston.In the end, the Warriors were the only team that really drew Durants interest. His reps at Nike love the idea of him stationed in the San Francisco Bay Area, even playing with Under Armours signature star, league sources said. Executives from another team that met with Durant said he spent most of the meeting silent and didnt ask any questions. Without the cap spike, the Warriors would have had to make more painful sacrifices to get in the conversation.And the cap will jump so high again in a year that Golden State will have plenty of room to re-sign Durant for his full super-max -- though it may cost them Iguodala, depending on the precise cap figure. The league proposed smoothing the cap increase to prevent this exact scenario, but the idea emerged too late, and the union rejected it out of hand. It all felt perfunctory, almost for show.?With collective bargaining talks ongoing, enraged owners might push for a deeper discussion about scrapping the ceiling on individual player salaries.So now, we have another superteam. Durant will get ripped for this, and it will mostly be stupid. It was stupid how the media lionized him way back in 2010 for tweeting about his extension with Oklahoma City, while James rushed into a ridiculous television show. Durant was a restricted free agent then, and few things are as predictable as a superstar restricted free agent re-signing for the maximum salary at the first moment possible. LeBron was unrestricted in 2010, and Durant, in his first shot at the free market, changed teams after a whirlwind courtship.Staying didnt make Durant a humble hero then, and leaving doesnt make him a villain now. He left a job he held for nine years in favor of another job. His route to the championship is easier, and if he stays long term in Golden State, he might never be indisputably the greatest player on a championship team. That could be interesting in sussing out his place in history. He also might win three NBA Finals MVPs. Who knows? Everyone hated James for joining his friends in Miami -- until he won a ring. No one ever hated Larry Bird for playing next to Hall of Famers all over the damn court.The Warriors will enter next season as massive favorites in the Western Conference. They didnt just sign Durant, they gutted the only Western Conference team they feared. They do not fear the?Spurs.?After losing in San?Antonio in March, Golden States players talked in the locker room about how the Spurs had no chance against them in a seven game-series, per several team sources -- about how San Antonio could only manage 87 points even with Iguodala and Bogut in street clothes that night.They were right to fear the Thunder. Golden States road win in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals, after being down 3-1, will live forever as a comeback that changed the foundation of the league. That game made Thompson an NBA immortal. He saved the Warriors season -- and ultimately nudged Durant away from Oklahoma City.It was a performance so remarkable that Warriors general manager Bob Myers went back and re-watched the final five minutes right away -- the first time has done so for any Golden State game.I never do that, Myers told me during the Finals. I just wanted to see what happened. I didnt understand it. I still dont.Warriors coach Steve Kerr was in such disbelief after a Thompson 30-footer with about five minutes to go in that Game 6 that he scanned the crowd, locked eyes with a Thunder fan seated courtside and exclaimed to her, How the heck does he do that?I just had to say something to someone, and she was the first person I saw, Kerr said during the Finals.Those shots are the margin between the Thunder making the Finals and this complete franchise devastation.Thunder GM Sam Presti prepared Oklahoma City for Durants departure as best he could.?Steven Adams?and?Victor Oladipo?are real building blocks; perhaps the Thunder will invest a little more time in?Dion Waiters. Scouts love?Domantas Sabonis, the other core piece Presti wrangled from the?Orlando Magic?in the?Serge Ibaka?deal.If Westbrook re-signs next summer, the Thunder will be feisty enough to soften the blow of Durants departure -- and of Hardens presence elsewhere on a below-market extension that runs through 2018. But these Thunder without Durant arent title contenders, and Westbrooks eyes will wander. Other teams will start calling.The Lakers, Westbrooks hometown team, have a gleaming city, several interesting young players and a timeline for recovery hanging over the neck of team executive Jim Buss like a guillotine. In theory, the Lakers should simply wait for Westbrook to hit free agency, stink badly enough to keep their pick yet again and sign him without dealing away any assets -- the road not taken with the?New York Knicks?and?Carmelo Anthony.In practice, that is a risk, especially given the Lakers can no longer get star free agents to pick up their calls. Everyone will have cap space again next summer, including the crosstown?Clippers. Unless you know for sure -- wink,?wink -- Westbrook is in, there is value in picking him up ahead of time and securing the right to offer him more years and more cash.The Lakers still have enough cap room to extend Westbrooks contract on the spot if they nab him. Any team (including the Thunder) with the requisite space can bump his 2016-17 salary up from $17.8 million to his new max, about $26.5 million, and tack on three more years from there with 4.5 percent annual raises. By signing an extension, Westbrook would forfeit free agency under next years mega-cap, but the huge raise this season makes it closer to a wash than expected over the next four years.Presti doesnt want to trade Westbrook, but if he feels backed into a corner, he will chase young players and draft picks. The?Phoenix Suns?reportedly talked with the?Atlanta Hawks?about?Paul Millsap, and they come armed with prospects galore,?extra point guards and two future Miami picks. The?Denver Nuggets?had the Hawks biting on a package of picks and players, including?Kenneth Faried, for Millsap, per several league sources, but its unclear if Denver would?chase Westbrook. Both teams have enough cap space left to renegotiate and extend Westbrook, though he might not have any interest in sticking around either place.The Magic, a trade partner just 10 days ago, have a bunch of interesting young guys and a win-now mandate. The?Boston Celtics?can throw all?their unused trade assets at Oklahoma City.Presti would call everyone with a young stud, just as he did in dealing Harden: the?Milwaukee Bucks?with?Jabari Parker, the?Minnesota Timberwolves?with?Andrew Wiggins?and a few other possibilities. The Lakers threat will depress the trade market, barring?some?hush-hush advance agreement from Westbrooks camp.Either way, the Durant-Westbrook Thunder take their place as the NBAs great dynasty that wasnt. They made one precocious Finals run and never returned, undone by injuries, bad luck, the rise of Golden State and one trade that reduced their margin for error. If Westbrook stays, they will rebuild from the middle, and we will see if Presti can appeal to free agents who might take them from 40-plus wins back into the 50s. If Westbrook leaves, the climb will be long and painful.Golden State has reached the top, and the Warriors are primed to seize the throne back from Cleveland. Its too soon to pencil in a dynasty. They have no bench right now. And crazy things can happen -- just ask the Thunder. But the Warriors will enter next season as favorites, with the chance again to be an all-time team. Wholesale Arizona Cardinals Jerseys . PAUL, Minn. KeeSean Johnson Jersey . It just didnt show when he hit the ice. Berra made 42 saves and Kris Russell scored at 1:32 of overtime, lifting the Calgary Flames to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night. 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But its really emotional as well, Moncada said through a translator after the World rallied to beat the United States 11-3 on Sunday.He no doubt was going to share that with his parents in Cuba.I hope my parents could watch the game, he said. If they could, that would excite me a lot. They are not here with me. I miss them. If they werent able to watch the game, anyway Ill call them tonight. I cant send them a video, because you are not able to download videos with the Cuban infrastructure.The World team snapped a six-game losing streak in the showcase of top minor league talent.With Raimel Tapia of the Rockies aboard on an error, Moncada, a Cuban who plays for Double-A Portland, hit a line shot to left off Anthony Banda of the Diamondbacks for a 4-3 lead.Moncada was named Futures Game MVP. The Red Sox agreed to give Moncada a $31.5 million signing bonus -- with a $31.5 million tax imposed by baseballs labor contract -- in March 2015, the highest amount for an international amateur. Cuban authorities allowed him to leave in 2014.I am very proud and happy to be here, he said. I didnt imagine I could have such an outstanding performance, but everything went just well. I was the MVP and I dedicate this to my parents.Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez had a big game as well. His three-run homer to left highlighted the seven-run ninth. He also doubled in the Worlds first run, in the sixth, and made a spectacular catch of Dylan Cozens long foul ball against a fence near the right-field stands to end the seventh.Jimenez jumped to make the catch and then ran into the fence, doubling over. His sunglasses flew off.I really did not think a lot before attempting that catch, he said. First I saw the fly was going wide. `Im not going to catch that, I said. But I kept running, and then I just jumped. I hit my leg, but the most important thing was to get that out.Padres farmhand Manuel Margot of the World team reached above the fence in right-center to rob Carson Kelly (Cardinals) of a home run in the sixth.I definitely rank it as the best iin my career.dddddddddddd First impressions are everything, and if the fans have a good first impression of me, hopefully I can keep it up, Margot said. Its little things like that that win ballgames. If the little things arent done, then ultimately youre not going to win the game.World manager Moises Alou, a special assistant in the Padres player development department, won a dinner bet with his U.S. counterpart, former Padres All-Star closer Trevor Hoffman.Alou said hes going to frame the lineup.When I look at that lineup in my house in a couple of years, he said, there are going to be a lot of guys playing in the All-Star Game, I guarantee you that.For the U.S. team, Chance Sisco homered and Alex Bregman finished a home run shy of the cycle.Sisco, who plays for the Baltimore Orioles Double-A affiliate Bowie, homered to left-center off Francisco Rios of the Blue Jays high Class A Dunedin to give the United States a 3-0 lead with one out in the fourth inning. Sisco has one homer in 251 at-bats with Bowie.Bregman, of Triple-A Fresno in the Houston system, tripled in the first, doubled and scored in the third and singled in the fourth. He fouled out in the seventh and struck out to end the game.Everyone was, `You got to go for it! You got to go for it! You better be swinging at everything! Bregman said. If I would have walked or if I would have struck out looking, they would have been furious.The World closed the gap to 3-2 in the sixth before Josh Naylor (Marlins) was thrown out by David Dahl (Rockies) trying to score the tying run from second on a single by Carlos Asuaje (Padres) to end the inning.World starter Alex Reyes of Triple-A Memphis (Cardinals) hit 101 mph. He allowed two hits in 1 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out four and walking one.Joe Musgrove (Astros), who pitched for Grossmont High in suburban El Cajon, threw a perfect first inning for the United States.The teams wore jerseys in the mustard and mud color scheme the Padres used in the 1980s.Hoffmans staff was heavy with ex-Padres, including Fred McGriff, Garry Templeton, Billy Bean and Mark Loretta, plus San Diegan and former big leaguer Mark Prior, the Padres minor league pitching coordinator. Cheap Jerseys China NFL Jerseys Cheap NBA Jerseys Wholesale NHL Jerseys Wholesale MLB Jerseys Cheap Soccer Jerseys China Wholesale NCAA Jerseys Wholesale Football Jerseys Wholesale Basketball Jerseys Wholesale Baseball Jerseys ' ' '