By Matt Barrett ‘17 and Brian O’Neill ‘16
Last Thursday’s NBA trade deadline was hectic; 39 players found new homes across 17 teams. How gained the most out of last week’s one day trading frenzy?
M.B: It was too hard to keep up with the action last Thursday until after the fact. The Sixers and Sam Hinkie were busy gaining more first and second round picks in this year’s NBA draft. Although this might look appealing on the surface with the Sixers potentially having four first round picks and six second round picks, the team’s success was just put on hold for at least another season. The draft class of 2015 is not one to tank for.
Only one team really improved their playoff chances last Thursday. The Miami Heat were able to acquire brothers Goran and Zoran Dragic from the Phoenix Suns in a three-team trade. Zoran is far from stardom in the NBA, but his brother Goran just made the Heat a contender in the Eastern Conference. The Slovenian point guard is averaging 16.1 points per game this season, to go along with 3.5 boards per game and 4.0 dimes.
The numbers still do not justify Dragic’s impact on the court. Dragic is able to shoot the basketball efficiently and is able to drive to the basket easily. The 6’3’’ guard has a career shooting percentage of 46.7 percent and ranks first in the league this season among point guards. Paired with veterans Dwayne Wade and Luol Deng, Dragic will help the Heat become a contender in the Eastern Conference. Not to mention, second year center Hassan Whiteside ranks third in the league in PER [player efficiency rating].
The problem with Miami is that they struggle to stay healthy. Both Wade and Whiteside have been battling injuries on and off this season and forward Chris Bosh just announced that he will sit out for the remainder of the season due to blood clots in his lungs. Look for Dragic, however, to take on a bigger role with these recurring injuries and don’t be surprised if coach Erik Spoelstra takes the team to the playoffs for the fifth straight season.
B.O: In spite of Kevin Garnett’s headline-catching return to the Timberwolves, I think the most improved team coming out of the trade deadline is the Oklahoma City Thunder. They picked up four guys that fit right into where they need them to fit. Steve Novak, DJ Augustin, Kyle Singler, and Enes Kanter are four big acquisitions, especially when your team is looking to make a serious playoff push.
Each and every one of these guys have proven themselves to maintain enough consistency to come off the bench and do some serious damage, which is an essential feature of any team that wants to succeed in the postseason. Kanter has been averaging close to a double-double this season with 13.9 points and eight rebounds per game. Augustin has also been averaging just over 10 points per game with 5 assists this season. Novak and Singler haven’t exactly been lighting it up with an average of 4.5 points per game between the two of them, but everyone in the league knows the damage those guys will do to you if they get an open look from beyond the arc. Pretty incredible stuff here from OKC.
Watching the Oscars last Sunday got us thinking—what’s the best sports movie of all time?
M.B: As a native of the greater Philadelphia area, I am biased towards Rocky. Rocky, however, is knocked out of my number spot by another boxing classic—Raging Bull.
Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, two titans of cinema, pair up to illustrate the life of Jake Lamotta. De Niro puts on the performance of a lifetime playing an egomaniac boxer who falls victim to divorce and lets his emotions get the best of him. Another thing that makes this movie great is that Scorsese filmed it in black and white. The movie makes you feel like you’re living in the 1940s. The movie also encompasses the state of boxing in the 1940s in a way that portrays the sport as physical and harsh. The fight scenes are some of the best in boxing movie history.
“I never went down Ray [Robinson],” still stands as one of my favorite movie quotes (Lamotta to Robinson after losing about my TKO).
Behind all of the blood and sweat, the movie does a great job of illustrating Lamotta’s lifestyle. The movie even manages to highlight the lifelong relationship between Lamotta and his brother, played by Joe Pesci. I’m not denying that there aren’t other great sports movies—Caddyshack and Hoosiers are two of my all time favorites. But when it comes to the best of all time, Raging Bull tops them all.
B.O: Remember the Titans—one hundred percent. There is no better feature length sports film in the history than this Hollywood gem. Sure, it’s corny, it’s not very subtle and it’s as much of a two-hour emotional manipulation as any. But it’s a fun ride, and it portrays football in a light that very much aligns with my experience with the sport.
It’s about individuals and groups coming together to find a common ground on the gridiron. If you ever played football or were close to someone who did, you probably thought they were being dramatic the way they talked about their teammates and their coaches, about loving them all and playing for each other. But that’s exactly what football is—it is a heartfelt emotional and physical journey throughout the fall of every year. Remember the Titans demonstrates this aspect of the game beautifully and Denzel Washington does an outstanding job representing the uniquely ferocious mentor role that all football coaches aspire to be.
On top of everything else, the movie deals with racial tensions in a simple, matter-of-fact yet heartwarming and inspirational way, showing that on the field the only color that matters is the color of your jersey. And when you play for one team, you always have each other’s back. God I love that movie.