Early Awards
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Early Awards

Ryan Marks
Blake Wynveen
Ryan Marks, Blake Wynveen
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Good morning. It’s Thursday, which means it’s been four days since our last social encounter. And no, mandatory Zoom happy hours don’t count. To help brighten your day, sports!

In today's Sprint:

  • 🏀   Early NBA awards
  • ⚾   Big names on the move
  • ⚽   Spanish upsets

NBA

Quarter Season Review

As the shortened 72-game NBA season approaches its quarter mark, we wanted to recap the wild ride it has been.

Storylines: The James Harden trade created a new Eastern Conference powerhouse in the Brooklyn Nets, Steph Curry and Kevin Durant looked stellar in their return from injury, and LeBron James continued to defy Father Time. If the playoffs started today, seven new teams would be in the postseason.

Let’s dive into the top teams and performers thus far...

Top Teams: Los Angeles Lakers (11-4), Los Angeles Clippers (10-4), Utah Jazz (10-4), Philadelphia 76ers (10-5).

Stat Leaders: Bradley Beal (34.9 points per game), Andre Drummond (15.8 rebounds per game), James Harden (10.9 assists per game).

MVP: Nikola Jokić (25.1 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 10.0 apg)

  • Jokić has taken the step from star to superstar. His Player Efficiency Rating, a measure of per-minute productivity, is an insane 31.8, which is third all-time. The only thing holding him back is the Denver Nuggets’ (7-7) slow start.

Rookie of the Year: LaMelo Ball (11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 6.1 apg)

  • Ball is first among rookies in assists and rebounds per game and second in points. He is running away with the award and, somehow, he doesn't even start.

Surprise Team: Indiana Pacers (8-6)

  • Malcolm Brogdon (22.2 ppg, 7.5 apg) and Domantas Sabonis (21.7 ppg, 12.8 rpg, 5.8 apg) have turned the Pacers into an old-school Spurs type team with an unselfish, pass-first style of play (+2.8 apg differential, 4th in the league).

Surprise Players

  • Julius Randle (22.8 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 6.1 apg) and Domantas Sabonis (see above) are having career years in all three major statistical categories. Don’t be surprised to see these guys in the All-Star game.

Scoreboard

(7-7) Cleveland Cavaliers 147 vs. (9-7) Brooklyn Nets 135

  • In Kyrie Irving’s (33 pts) return to action, the Cavaliers’ Collin Sexton (42 pts, 5 reb, 5 ast) stole the show. Sexton scored 20 straight points in a three-minute span to pull the upset.

(10-5) Philadelphia 76ers 117 vs. (8-5) Boston Celtics 109

  • Joel Embiid managed 42 points on just 12 field goals. How does one do that? 17 made free throws.

BASEBALL

Hot Stove

It’s been a relatively quiet offseason in baseball (for the players). That is, until yesterday when the Toronto Blue Jays kick-started a flurry of moves.

The Signings

  • George Springer: The lifetime Astro reportedly agreed to a massive 6-year, $150 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • Micheal Brantley: Initial reports pinned Brantley to join his ex-teammate Springer in Toronto. However, the reports were false. The all-star left fielder actually resigned with the Astros on a 2-year, $32 million deal.
  • Kirby Yates: The 2019 MLB saves leader signed a 1-year, $5.5 million deal with Toronto.

Implications

The Toronto Blue Jays are in win-now mode after making great strides last season with their young core, led by studs Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. The addition of Springer, a World Series MVP, brings much needed playoff experience and leadership to the already solid team.

Look for the Jays to add at least one more big name, most likely a frontline rotation guy (potentially Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer).


WATER COOLER TALK
  • 🏀   In a headline only fit for 2020/2021, the NBA will implement security to stop hugs and handshakes between players as part of COVID-19 protocols.
  • ⚽   Spanish soccer powerhouse Real Madrid shockingly lost 1-2 in the Copa del Rey to Alcoyano, a division three Spanish club.
  • ⚽   Manchester United beat Fulham 2-1 to reclaim the top spot in the Premier League.
  • 🏒   Four Washington Capitals players, including superstar Alex Ovechkin, were placed on the COVID-19 list. The Caps were fined $100K for breaking the NHL’s protocols.
  • 🏈   Philip Rivers, fifth all-time in passing yards, touchdowns, and clean trash talk, announced his retirement after a 17-year career.

TRIVIA

In the first 100 games of his career, Luka Doncic drained 250 three-pointers. That's the second-most through the first 100 games of a career. Who is the only player to make more?

  1. Stephen Curry
  2. Ray Allen
  3. Duncan Robinson
  4. Kyle Korver

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TRIVIA ANSWER

C. Duncan Robinson made a whopping 326 threes through 100 games. That’s over 30% more than Doncic.