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Free Agency Needs: AFC North

With the 2020 NFL season finally over, the preparation for the 2021 season has finally begun. Given that the 2021 NFL salary cap will likely end up in the $182-183 million range, teams will likely be signing players to 1-year contracts to be able to fit players under the cap. Read to see which positions each team should target and what free agents are affordable and can fit that role. We will analyze AFC North in the second edition of Free Agency Needs. Cincinnati Bengals Protect Joe Burrow. That should be priority one, two, and three this offseason. Before going down to a torn ACL, Burrow was one of the most pressured QBs in the league and the Bengals ranked 29th in pass block win rate according to ESPN. The Bengals need to allocate a majority of their resources towards the offensive line to prevent a repeat disaster of Joe Burrow’s season-ending injury. Joe Thuney has Cincinnati roots so a home reunion would work well for both parties. Most of the Bengals starters in 2020 got hurt so it is tough to evaluate what positions they need to improve. At the edge position, Carl Lawson was the Bengals best player and he is a free agent that will likely earn a solid payday for his performance last season. Pittsburgh Steelers With Pouncey retiring and LT Villanueva and LG Feiler hitting free agency, the Steelers will potentially need to rework the entire left side of their OLine. Not only that but their performance this past season was subpar. The whole unit ranked 28th in pass-block win rate and 24th in rush-block win rate according to ESPN. I expect Villanueva back in black and gold, but they will need an upgrade at LG and C. Running back was another difficult position last year. The Steelers were one-dimensional last year and it showed. They had an EPA/Rush last year of -0.146 which ranked 29th in the league last year and ranked last in the league in rushing yards as an entire team. The Steelers also have a QB issue. Big Ben’s play has consistently declined over the last few seasons and in many ways, they are a team built to win right now. They have a defense that has been consistently great the last two seasons and have some young, exciting weapons on the outside. This team needs to find its future at QB. Big Ben is also not worth the $41 million he is scheduled to make this year. Either his contract will be restructured, or he will be released. Cleveland Browns Olivier Vernon is a pending FA and he tore his achilles towards the end of the season. The Browns should look to pair Myles Garrett with another young pass rusher to really improve this defense. Starting LB BJ Goodson is a FA and Malcolm Smith is a FA as well. While the Browns could look to bring one back, they could also spend some money in FA to land a big-time LB who could be the signal-caller in their defense and give them a veteran presence in the middle of the field. While Odell Beckham Jr. is still expected to be on the team, Rashard Higgins is a FA, and the Browns can use a third receiver to take the pressure off Beckham and Jarvis Landry. A speedster would make the most sense in this scenario given how Landry and Beckham are both routes running technicians. Baltimore Ravens The Ravens have neglected the WR for too long and it is a reason why they can’t comeback in games where they are down double-digit points in the second half. They have no WR who can consistently win their matchups, but luckily, this is a loaded FA WR class and the Ravens are still playing under Lamar Jackson’s rookie contract so they have money to spend. Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue are both FA, and while the Ravens could franchise tag either of them, it might make more sense to let them both walk and to sign a cheap veteran in FA. Given that the Ravens blitzed at one of the highest rates in the league last year, they don’t rely too much on their edge defenders winning 1 on 1 matchup. Orlando Brown has asked for a trade request, meaning there is a hole to fill at RT. When healthy, LT Ronnie Stanley is one of the best in the game, but the Ravens need good tackles because they run the ball at a very high rate. Contributors: Arjun Menon, Ray Matera, Anthony Molina, and Sam Mattson.

Free Agency Needs: AFC South

With the 2020 NFL season finally over, the preparation for the 2021 season has finally begun. The 2021 NFL salary cap will drop within a range of $10-20 million, teams will need to be smart with how they spend their money. The Tactician analyzes which positions each team should target and what free agents are affordable and can fit that role. Our first edition will cover AFC South. Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive EPA/Play (Rank): -0.049 (28th) Defensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.168 (31st) Draft Position: 1 Team Needs: QB, OT, CB Barring a trade for Deshaun Watson, the Jaguars should be taking Trevor Lawrence with the first pick this upcoming draft. They will also need protection for Lawrence as incumbent LT Cam Robinson is a FA and the unit as a whole finished 25th in pass block win rate per ESPN. Finally, they need to find secondary reinforcements for their bottom barrel defense either via FA or the draft as they finished with the second-worst EPA/dropback allowed this past year. Houston Texans Offensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.093 (7th) Defensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.168 (30th) Draft Position: 3 Team Needs: IDL, CB, RB Houston has put itself in a very tough spot because of the Laremy Tunsil trade. Assuming that Deshaun Watson is still on the roster and playing, the first priority for the Texans is to find an IDL, as they finished with the league’s worst EPA/rush allowed last year Bradley Roby is a solid number one corner, but he is nearing 30 years old which tends to be the point where many corners regress. The Texans need to find a corner outside of Roby as starters Gareon Conley and Vernon Hargreaves are both FA this year. David Johnson only has one more year on his contract and he could be cut to create cap space this year so finding a new starting RB this draft is a need for the Texans. Indianapolis Colts Offensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.091 (9th) Defensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.003 (9th) Draft Position: 21 Team Needs: WR, OT, CB Longtime star wide receiver TY Hilton is set to be a free agent, which likely means Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell will be the top 2 WR for the Colts. They could use a savvy route running technician as Pittman is a possession WR and Campbell is a burner. The Colts lost their cornerstone LT Anthony Castonzo to retirement, and the Colts should focus on giving Carson Wentz as much protection as possible to try and recreate his 2017 MVP form. Xavier Rhodes had an excellent bounce-back season on a one-year prove-it deal, but he will likely command too much money for the Colts to give him. He will likely leave the Colts in FA meaning they need a true CB 1 opposite Rock Ya-Sin for them to contend next year. Tennessee Titans Offensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.177 (2nd) Defensive EPA/Play (Rank): 0.133 (28th) Draft Position: 22 Team Needs: Edge, WR, TE The Titans finished the year with 19 sacks which was third worst last year and finished 21st in EPA/rush allowed. The FA signings of Jadaveon Clowney and Vic Beasley failed, so the Titans must invest in the edge position to consistently generate pressure and be able to stop the run. Corey Davis is set to be a FA and the former fifth overall pick had a career year which could lead to a big payday. While AJ Brown is one of the best young receivers in the league, he will need another playmaker alongside him to keep this offense at an elite level. Jonnu Smith is another FA who had a good year and could seek more money elsewhere. Given that the Titans use TEs regularly in their offense to help block for Derrick Henry, they need to find an able replacement for Smith that is an able blocker and reliable WR. Contributors: Arjun Menon, Ray Matera, Anthony Molina, and Sam Mattson.

Inside Look at the Blockbuster Trade Between CBJ and WPG

Breakdown of the Patrick Laine Trade Statistical comparison of trade results thus far Patrick Laine to the Columbus Blue Jackets Patrick Laine, former 2nd overall draft pick in 2016, has been making a strong impact in the Jets’ lineup so far in his career. In 306 NHL games, Laine holds a whopping 250 points (140 G 110 A) which is a phenomenal statistic as only eight other players have scored this many points in that specific time range. Not surprisingly, Alex Ovechkin leads this category. However, there is more to the trade than Laine, as his teammate, Jack Roslovic was also accompanied in this trade. In return for trading away Laine and Roslovic, the Jets received the 2016 3rd overall pick, Pierre-Luc Dubois, and a third-round pick in 2022. This is overall a pretty even trade considering Dubois is one of the top centers in the league. There is reasoning behind this blockbuster trade, as the Jets explained there was difficulty in agreement to find a role for Laine that was comfortable for both him and the Jets. How has the trade compared so far? Laine’s 4th week with the Blue Jackets was a turbulent one, between scoring his first goal in Columbus and even being benched for nearly an entire game this week was anything but relaxed for Laine. However, he bounced back the following game against Chigaco with a team-leading 20:23 minutes of ice time. Liane stated in a post-game interview that he disrespected a Jets staff member, hence why he barely played that night. After this short disciplining, there is reason to believe that Laine is going to flourish in the Blue Jackets system. At his current pace of 4 goals and 10 assists, Laine is on pace to finish in the 75 to 80 point margin. This is a very strong margin to finish in considering the previous years he has averaged 62 season points. Taking a further look into the stat sheet, Laine has a fenwick score of 46.34 in his first 16 games this season. This is a moderately strong fenwick score, considering he has moved teams and been incorporated into new team systems. These systems are not always easy to learn at first, but in previous games, Laine has taken stride and it is looking promising for the skilled forward. Laine has four points in his last five games (3 G 1 A), showing off his cannon for a shot. The real question is, who will be able to stop Laine? Patrick Laine Interactive Dashboard

IPL Auction Preview

The IPL Auction will take place in Chennai on the 18th of February. After the recently conducted player retention, KXIP, RR, and RCB have a considerably larger budget as compared to the rest of the teams. Some big names missing from the auction list include Aussie Pacer Mitchell Starc and English batsman Joe Root. Team funds available going into the auction: Kings XI Punjab: Rs.53.20 cr Chennai Super Kings: Rs.22.90 cr Delhi Capitals: Rs.12.90 cr Kolkata Knight Riders: Rs.10.75 cr Mumbai Indians: Rs.15.35 cr Rajasthan Royals: Rs.34.85 cr Royal Challengers Bangalore: Rs.35.90 cr SunRisers Hyderabad: Rs.10.75 c Going into the Auction, there are some surprises in relation to players who have decided to opt-out and not feature in this edition of the IPL. The most notable names among the players missing out are; Dale Steyn, Joe Root, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, and Tom Banton. IPL Legend Lasith Malinga too will be missing out this year as he announced his retirement from franchise cricket. Players expected to Break Bank: Dawid Malan (1.5 Cr. Base price) Malan is currently the top-ranking T20 batsman in the ICC world rankings. While the English opener hasn’t participated in the IPL before, he has had good showings in both, English county cricket and the BBL. Malan has been a mainstay at the top of the order for the national side for a couple of years now and strikes at an impressive SR of 145+. With RCB letting go of Aussie opener Arron Finch, they will be looking out for Malan, CSK too will be keeping an eye on the Englishman. Malan expected to be one of the most expensive players in the auction this year, it will be interesting to see how his auction plays out. Glenn Maxwell (2 Cr. Base Price ) It’s that time again. The Glenn Maxwell corundum. With a strike rate of 157 and an average of 30+, one can’t question the large sums of money teams have spent on acquiring Maxwell in the past. While on paper and on Aussie soil Maxwell has been an outstanding performer, his form in the IPL has not justified his high price in the past seasons. In Maxwell, you get a top grade fielder, a handy part time spinner, and an all-round game changer. While it’s not expected that teams will break the bank for Maxwell the way they have in the past, it is expected that teams like KXIP/RCB/RR would still be happy to have him for under Rs.4 Cr. Steve Smith (2 Cr. Base Price ) Former Aussie and RR captain, Steve Smith was released by RR in the player retention prior to the auction. Smith was recently named the ‘Test Cricketer of the Decade’ by ICC and is probably one of the most dependable batsmen in world cricket. His test and ODI form haven’t resonated in T20 cricket as much as he would like it to, however, he is a good top order option for a couple of teams going into this year's auction. With CSK releasing fellow Aussie Shane Watson, following his retirement, Smith might be a great replacement in the CSK top order. Keeping the “Right to match card” in mind you can’t rule out RR using it to secure Smith for a cheaper price. This tactic might be used by KXIP to do the same for Maxwell too. Shakib Al Hasan (2 Cr. Base Price ) The Bangladeshi veteran allrounder has been a mainstay for KKR in the past but wasn’t able to cement his place in the starting XI after making the switch to SRH in the last season. Shakib is ranked #2 in the ICC T20 allrounders rankings. After serving his international ban, Shakib has returned to playing for Bangladesh in 2021 and has displayed good form both with bat and ball. DC and KKR might be interested in bagging the players for a price close to his base price. Nathan Coulter-Nile (1.5 Cr. Base price) Many teams are looking to strengthen their pace bowling department and with Stark and Dale Steyn both missing from this year's auction, Coulter-Nile, and Jhye Richardson might bring in some big bucks. The team with the biggest purse, KXIP have no international pacers in their lineup after they released WestIndian pacer, Sheldon Cottrell. Both Punjab and RCB will be looking to bag an international pace bowler and Coulter-Nile would be a strong option. Others to look out for Afghan spinner Mujheeb Ur Rahman is the top-ranked International spinners and it wouldn’t be a surprise If KXIP uses their RTM card on the spinner who didn't get a lot of game time for them last year. English batsman Adam Lyth has displayed great form in English County Cricket and could be picked up along with English pacer Lewis Gregory who had a good BBL season. Alex hales and Alex Carey both can be handy batsmen to any given team. Tom Curran, Mark Wood, and Liam Plunkett stand a good chance of getting picked with teams looking to strengthen their bowling department. Kedar Jadhav, Pawan Negi, Pradeep Sangwan, and Shivam Dube will be some domestic players to look out for.

What's Wrong With the Miami Heat?

The Miami Heat average the most turnovers and least offensive rebounds per game This leads to the Heat having the 3rd worst field goal attempt differential in the NBA Last season the Miami Heat surprised everyone and made the NBA finals. One could even make the argument that they would have won the championship if Dragic and Bam had not gotten injured. Due to this success, the Heat had high expectations coming into this season. They have certainly not met these exceptions. So, what's wrong with the Miami Heat? The first statistic we'll examine is their field goal percentage. As one can see in the visualization above, the Heat have an above average field goal percentage. Its even better than some top teams such as the Jazz and Celtics. So this clearly is not the problem. Thus, let's compare their field goal percentage to the field goal percentage of their opponents to see if their defense has been the problem. The Heat have the 6th best field goal percentage differential in the NBA. Their efficiency on shot attempts and defending shot attempts is good, good enough to be one of the top teams in the East. Therefore, if they are losing all these games, this must mean that their opponents are taking significantly more shots than them. Below is a graph showing team's field goal attempt differential. The Heat have the 3rd worst field goal attempt differential in the league. On the contrary, the Celtics have the 5th best differential. This is why the Celtics have a significantly better record than the Heat, despite having a much worse field goal percentage differential. So what's causing the Heat to attempt so many less shots than their opponent. The way you lose shot opportunities is turnovers, and the way you gain them is offensive rebounds. Below are graphs of both of those. The Heat average the most turnovers in the NBA and the least offensive rebounds. It is very hard to consistently win games with these numbers. The turnovers may be due to the fact that Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo have been given more of a ball handling and playmaking role this season. Without a preseason and much training camp, it may take time for these two to adjust to their increased roles. Herro has recently been removed from the starting lineup, so we'll see if this allows him to have less of a playmaking responsibility and be able to focus more on scoring and playing off other ball handlers like Dragic and Butler. The offensive rebounds will likely be harder to fix. The Heat currently start Kelly Olynyk, who, despite being 7-feet tall, is a poor rebounder; he has never averaged six rebounds a game. The Heat's other PF/C options off the bench are Iguodala and Achiuwa. Iguodala is clearly not big enough to be a good rebounder, and Achiuwa has not yet earned big minutes from Spoelstra. That being said, unless a trade occurs, Achiuwa is probably the Heat's best option for improving their rebounding. However, it is hard to play him with Bam since neither stretch the floor. Nevertheless, I believe, if the Heat can reduce their turnovers, they have a potent enough offense and a stingy enough defense to win games, even without improving their offensive rebounding. Stats from: basketballreference.com

Has the addition of Alphari improved Team Liquid's performance?

Alphari joined Team Liquid as their top lane in League of Legends. TL recently won LCS Lock-In 2021. LCS 2021 Lock-In is a kick-off tournament in North America's professional League of Legends league. Previously he was with Astralis for 2 months and before that Origen for close to 2 years. He chose to leave both teams because he wasn't happy with his team’s performance. For the past three years, he hasn't been able to play internationally. But now after his switch to the NA side (North American), he will be able to play with Korean and Chinese players. Alphari said ”That’s all I want—to compete internationally again,”, “Winning a domestic title is huge, as well, but it would have to be secondary.” Winning a world championship is what every pro player looks forward to. Ever since he switched 3 years ago he hasn't been able to play in a world championship. If you look down below you will see that team liquid hasn't won a world championship yet either. For the past 3 years Team liquid placed 9-12th place in each world championship. However, they did come first place in, Riot NA LCS 2018 Spring, Riot NA LCS 2018 Summer, LCS 2019 Spring, and CS 2019 Summer. So it seems like the perfect fit for a player determined to win the world championship and a team determined to enter the finals during the world championship. Past tournaments including lost world championships So it’s been 2 months since Alphari joined TL, what has he done so far? TL recently won LCS Lock-In 2021. LCS 2021 Lock-In is a kick-off tournament for the ninth year of North America's professional League of Legends league. LCS Lock-In 2021 concluded with Team liquid besting Cloud 9 (another NA team) 3-2 and taking home $150,000. This is after winning against FlyQuest and Evil Genius. TL smashed both the quarter-finals and the semi-finals, not allowing either opposing team to score even once. Needless to say, Alphari‘s participation is helping TL join the top dawgs. This is a great first start to Team Liquid’s 2021 year. If Alphari is capable of working with his teammates as he did during the LCS 2021 Lock-In team liquid will be on the way to the 2022 world championship. Let's take a look at his past performance and see how it performs compared to 2021 Alphari. In the past 3 years, Alphari seems to have a relatively good performance but hasn't made it to the world championship. In his past, he has had 10 wins with Origen and 5 with misfits. He has also lost 5 championships with misfits and 3 with Origen. His performance has gone up and so has his team's scores. If his growth continues with team liquid he is a possible threat to the top teams in the world. Shows wins/KD on 3 different teams. When you combine a determined player and a determined team you get greatness and that is a little bit of what we saw during the LCS 2021 Lock-In. Obviously, we don't know what the future holds but Team Liquid looks like they are gonna have a great 2021 season if they continue to utilize players like Alphari. Even though Team Liquid may be considered the underdog, they do pose a threat to the past winners, such as 2019 winner FunPlus Phoenix, and 2020 winner DAMWON. 2022 world championship...Here we come! References: https://www.esportsearnings.com/teams/ https://lol.gamepedia.com/ https://www.trackingthepros.com/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS---1LfCnA https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Championship-series-league-of-legends-competition-team-lesjeunespommes.jpg

2020/21 Champions League Round of 16 Preview

RB Leipzig vs Liverpool Three Key Stats for Liverpool 12. That’s how many different centre back pairings Liverpool have played this season at the time of writing. This defensive crisis was furthered by Joel Matip’s season ending injury against Tottenham. Liverpool brought in Ben Davies from Preston and Ozan Kabak on loan from Schalke on deadline day, but whether or not the two can adapt to a higher level of opposition is yet to be seen. 75. That’s how many passes Thiago completed in his second half debut vs Chelsea in September 2020. Thiago is excellent in possession, something Liverpool will need against Leipzig’s high press. After an injury and a rocky adaptation period that culminated in a 2-3 loss to Manchester United that knocked them out of the FA Cup, Thiago helped Liverpool to key victories against Tottenham and West Ham. With Thiago in form and Fabinho scheduled to return from injury for the tie, we could see the strongest Liverpool midfield yet. 4. That’s how many seasons Mohammed Salah has scored 20+ goals for Liverpool in all competitions. He has already met the mark this season and currently leads the Premier League with 16. When Salah gets hot, he’s one of the world’s best. Keeping him quiet should be high on RB Leipzig’s list of priorities. Three Key Stats for RB Leipzig 10. That’s how many clean sheets RB Leipzig have kept in the Bundesliga at the time of writing, good for first. Given that they kept last season’s defensive line intact, most importantly keeping hold of Dayot Upamecano, Leipzig will be confident against a Liverpool side that currently lead the Premier League in goals with 43. 1. That’s how many goals Leipzig have conceded from counter-attacks in both the Bundesliga and the Champion’s League. Liverpool are a team known for being devastating on the counter, and rank joint second in the Premier League for counter-attack goals. Being able to take this away from Liverpool will be essential for Leipzig. 4. That’s the most any RB Leipzig player scored in the Bundesliga at the time of writing (four-way tie between Emil Forsberg, Yussuf Poulsen, Marcel Sabitzer, and Angelino). Furthermore, no one has scored more than 3 in the Champions League (Angelino). Leipzig have adapted well to the departure of leading goalscorer Timo Werner, but need someone to step up if they are to beat this Liverpool side. First Leg Prediction: Liverpool 0 - 0 RB Leipzig Second Leg Prediction: Liverpool 1 - 2 RB Leipzig Barcelona vs PSG Three Key Stats for Barcelona 11. That’s how many games Barcelona have gone unbeaten in La Liga since their last defeat at the time of writing. Of those games, only two were draws. Despite an embarrassing end to last season and a summer mired in controversy, this Barcelona side has found some form. After an early season panic that put European qualification for next season in question, they sit in second, ahead of Real Madrid on goal difference. 3. That’s how many goals Lionel Messi scored in the UCL group stage. Martin Braithwaite and Ousmane Dembele scored 3 each, and Barcelona ended the group stage with 16 goals, tied for second with Borussia Monchengladbach. Although Barcelona are still dependent on Messi, this dependence isn’t as significant as expected after the departure of Luis Suarez last summer. PSG’s defence will have to focus on more than just marking Messi out of the game if they want to stop this Barcelona team. 24.3 years. That’s the average age of this Barcelona squad. There are 6 players aged 30+: Neto (31), Gerard Pique (33), Jordi Alba (31), Miralem Pjanic (30), Sergio Busquets (32), and Lionel Messi (33). Young prospects Oscar Mingueza (21), Ronald Araujo (21), Sergino Dest (20), Frenkie De Jong (23), Riqui Puig (21), Ansu Fati (18), Pedri (18), and Trincao (21) are the core of a much needed rebuild. If in years past the success of Barcelona’s season hinged entirely on winning the Champions League, this season should be judged differently. 3 Key Stats for PSG 10. That’s how many games that Mauricio Pochettino has in all competitions before the first leg of this tie after taking the PSG job over the winter break. In his first 6 games, he has already dropped points in a draw with 16th placed Saint Etienne and loss to 18th placed Lorient. It takes time for a team to adjust to a new manager, but a team with the financial power and squad quality of PSG has different standards. The league is not a cakewalk this year: after 22 games, both Lille and Lyon are ahead of them, and Monaco only 3 points behind. This will take some of PSG’s focus away. 6. That’s how many goals Neymar scored in the group stage, good for joint first with Erling Haaland, Marcus Rashford, and Alvaro Morata. After a lackluster display in last year’s final, the Brazilian is motivated and playing some of his best football. With a strong supporting cast of Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi, and an in-form Moise Kean, the Parisians’ attack can take them far. 204. That’s how many games Thiago Silva played for PSG in all competitions, becoming the Parisians’ captain and leader on and off the pitch. Last summer, he left on a free transfer to Chelsea. Given PSG’s patchy form in Ligue 1 and how they barely qualified for the UCL knockout stage, his absence is clearly felt, and PSG’s defense will need to bring their A game. First Leg Prediction: Barcelona 2 - 1 PSG Second Leg Prediction: Barcelona 0 - 2 PSG Borussia Dortmund vs Sevilla 3 Key Stats for Borussia Dortmund 6. That’s how many of Dortmund's 12 group stage goals were scored by Erling Haaland. Haaland also has as many Bundesliga goals as the next 5 Dortmund players combined at the time of writing (14). Haaland’s goalscoring is undoubtedly one of Dortmund’s strengths, but their dependence on him is one of their main weaknesses. 12. That’s how many points Dortmund have dropped against top half Bundesliga sides since sacking Lucien Favre at the time of writing. Despite beating Wolfsburg and RB Leipzig, they lost to Union Berlin, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Monchengladbach, and Freiburg. This lack of consistency could hurt Dortmund if they don’t find a good run of form coming into this tie. 9. That’s how many goals Dortmud have conceded from set pieces in the Bundesliga, good for second most. Only bottom of the table Schalke have conceded more (11). While Sevilla is by no means exceptional in scoring from set pieces, it is something they could exploit and something Dortmund should focus on defending. 3 Key Stats for Sevilla 2. That’s how many times Sevilla have made it past the round of 16 in the Champions League over the course of their history (2017-18 against Manchester United and 1957-1958 against Danish side AGF). Despite having won a record 6 Europa League titles, their performances in the Champion’s League has been unexceptional to say the least. €5 million. That’s how much Sevilla paid in euros for Alejandro “Papu” Gomez. Yes, he’s 32, but he has only improved with age. Gomez helped Atalanta to the Champions League quarter finals in their maiden campaign last year, and Sevilla will be hoping that he’ll do the same for them. 13. That’s how many goals Youssef En-Nesyri has scored in La Liga at the time of writing, good for joint second with Lionel Messi. En-Nesyri also has 4 of his team’s 9 group stage goals. Sevilla will need En-Nesyri to continue this hot run of form if they are to break their Champions League hoodoo. First Leg Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 2 - 2 Sevilla Second Leg Prediction: Borussia Dortmund 1 - 3 Sevilla Juventus vs FC Porto 3 Key Stats for Juventus 7. That’s how many points Juventus are off the top of the table in Serie A. Last season Juve won the league by just a point, and this year they may not win it at all. In seasons past, particularly in 2015 and 2017 when Juve reached the Champions League final, they could focus on Europe with the league a foregone conclusion. This year, however, Serie A is more competitive than ever, and Juve has to fight a battle on two fronts. 25. That’s how many years have passed since Juventus last won the Champions League in 1995-96. Ever since then, particularly in their recent years of Serie A dominance, the Champion’s League has been this club’s main objective. Juve exited last season’s competition in a round of 16 upset to Lyon. Given their performances in Serie A, a similar embarrassment could cost club legend Andrea Pirlo his job as manager. 132. That’s how many Champions League goals Christiano Ronaldo has scored. No one has more, and Leo Messi is 14 behind with 118. Ronaldo is arguably the competition’s greatest player, capable of single-handedly deciding games. As long as Juve have Ronaldo, they have a chance against anyone, and he is sure to be amongst the goals in this tie. 3 Key Stats for FC Porto €116.1 million. That’s how much revenue FC Porto lost in 2019/20 due to absence from the Champion’s League and the COVID-19 pandemic. These are record losses for the club. Porto are currently 4 points off the top of the table in Liga NOS, and their prospects against a European giant like Juventus are bleak. But a desperate team is a dangerous one, so don’t expect Porto to give up easily. 6.8. That’s how many shots per game Porto had in the Champions League group stage, tied for last in the competition. Even though the Juventus defense is not what it was even a couple seasons ago, Porto will need to make the most of the chances they get, because it does not look like they will have many. 1. That’s how many times Manchester City dropped points in this year’s Champions League group stage. That one game? A 0-0 draw with this Porto team. Yes, Porto “parked the bus” that game, but any hope of an upset against Juventus rests on them doing just that. First Leg Prediction: Juventus 2 - 1 Porto Second Leg Prediction: Juventus 2 - 0 Porto Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea 3 Key Stats for Atletico Madrid 8. That’s how many points Atleli are currently clear at the top of the table in La Liga. Oh, and they have a game in hand. Unlike in past years, Atleti can focus on their European campaign and rotate their squad for La Liga games. 16. That’s how many goals Luis Suarez has in La Liga at the time of writing, good for best in the league. After being let go by Barcelona, Suarez has been on fire for Atleti this season. With Joao Felix also starting to live up to his price tag this season and brought in Moussa Dembele on loan, this Atleti attack is deeper and better than it has been in years. 12. That’s how many goals this Atleti defence has conceded in La Liga. Simply put, this is the best defence in Europe’s top 5 leagues. Chelsea have struggled to score many times this season, and new offensive signings Kai Havertz and Timo Werner have hardly hit the ground running. Coming up against a dominant defence like this one is surely not something to look forward to for any team, let alone one still looking to establish a rhythm offensively. 3 Key Stats for Chelsea $271.92 million. That’s how much Chelsea have spent on transfers this summer. With this record summer outlay came big expectations: expectations that cost club legend Frank Lampard his job. Club record signing Kai Havertz has failed to establish himself at the club and fellow arrival Timo Werner has also been short of expectations. Chelsea fans will be hoping new manager Thomas Tuchel can get the team back in form and make a deep European run as he did last season with PSG. 7. That’s how many games Thomas Tuchel has in all competitions until the first leg of this tie. So far, he has drawn 0 - 0 against Wolves, and beaten Burnley, Tottenham, and Sheffield United. His remaining games are against Championship side Barnsley in the FA Cup, followed by league fixtures against Newcastle and Southampton. If Tuchel can keep his unbeaten streak alive in these games, then Chelsea have a chance. 35.5. That’s how many minutes on average it took Olivier Giroud to score a goal in the Champions League group stage this season. Furthermore, 4 of his 5 goals came against the other team in Chelsea’s group to progress to the knockout stage: Sevilla. Timo Werner is next best with 3 goals, but they were all from the penalty spot (2 at home against Rennes and 1 away at Krasnodar). Giroud has found some form in the Champion’s League, and Thomas Tuchel should consider starting him ahead of Werner and Tammy Abraham if the latter two don’t find some form. First Leg Prediction: Atletico Madrid 0 - 0 Chelsea Second Leg Prediction: Atletico Madrid 2 - 1 Chelsea Lazio vs FC Bayern Munich 3 Key Stats for Lazio 21. That’s how many years have passed since Lazio last reached the Champions League knockout stage in the 1999-2000 season. This team has been competitive in Serie A for a couple years now, and there was even talk of a title challenge last season. In Europe, however, they are deeply inexperienced. Bayern, on the other hand, have made the Champions League knockout stage every year since the 2007/08 season and are the current champions. This gap in experience is less than encouraging for Lazio. 14. That’s how many of Lazio’s 36 Serie A goals were scored by Ciro Immobile. The Italian also scored 5 of the team’s 10 goals in the group stage. Last season he tied the Serie A record 36, and clearly he’s picked up where he left off. Bayern’s defense will definitely have their hands full with the current Capocannoniere. 6. That’s how many games Lazio have won in a row in Serie A at the time of writing. During this run, they beat Atalanta 3-1 and city rivals Roma 3-0. If Lazio can ride this good run into the first leg of the tie, then their added confidence will give them a mental edge. 3 Key Stats for FC Bayern Munich 24. That’s how many goals Robert Lewandowski has scored in 19 Bundesliga games. He also has 3 in 4 in the Champion’s League. Denied the 2020 Ballon d’Or, Lewandowski has been playing better than ever, and led Bayern to score 18 goals in the group stage, the most in the competition. Bayern put 4 unanswered past a usually dominant Atletico Madrid defense, and will be looking to do the same against Lazio. 13. That’s how many shots per game Bayern conceded in the Champions League group stage, good for 10th worst in the competition. Furthermore, Bayern have kept just 4 clean sheets in 19 Bundesliga games. Bayern have offensive firepower like no other team in the competition, but the amount of chances they give away will give Lazio something to work with. 6. That’s how many key statistical categories Joshua Kimmich led Bayern in in the Champions League group stage this year. Kimmich led Bayern in assists (3), key passes per game (3.3), tackles per game (3), interceptions per game (2.3), long balls per game (7), and through balls per game (0.3). And this is despite only playing 3 out of the 6 group stage games. Robert Lewandowski is Bayern’s main goalscorer, but Kimmich makes things happen both offensively and defensively. First Leg Prediction: Lazio 1 - 3 Bayern Munich Second Leg Prediction: Lazio 0 - 2 Bayern Munich Atalanta vs Real Madrid 3 Key Stats for Atalanta 2.00. That’s how many points Atalanata have taken per game since Papu Gomez last played. With Gomez in the side, they took just 1.67. This Atalanta side have left the dressing room row firmly in the rearview mirror, and Gomez was sold to Sevilla in the January transfer window. And it’s not like the games they played have been easy. Since Gomez last played, La Dea drew with last season’s champion’s Juventus (1-1), beat Roma (4-1), beat Sassuolo (5-1), beat league leaders Milan (3-0), and knocked Lazio out of the Coppa Italia (3-2). This team picked up where they left off last season, and will be looking to make a second straight quarter finals appearance. 5. That’s how many goals Lazio put past Atalanta in their recent back to back meetings. Atalanta won their encounter in the Coppa Italia, but lost 1-3 in the league the same week. Lazio exposed Atalanta on the counter attack, and Real will be looking to do the same through speedy wingers Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo. 21.5. That’s how many aerial duels Atalanta won per game in this year’s Champions League group stage, the best in the competition. Real are in 25th with 10.2. This aerial dominance will be key to stopping Karim Benzema, Real’s main goalscorer, as 2 of his 4 goals in the group stage were headers, and winning the 50/50 physical battles that allow Atalanta to play their attacking brand of football. 3 Key Stats for Real Madrid 35 years. That’s how old Luka Modric is. Despite his age, he played in all 6 group stage games and 19 out of 20 La Liga games. He completed 94% of his passes in the Champion’s League and 92% in La Liga. If Atalanta wants to stop Real Madrid, they need to stop their Croatian midfield engine. 6. That’s how many penalties Real have given away in La Liga this season, most in the league. They have yet to concede a penalty in the Champion’s League, but this is a point of concern nonetheless. Especially against a fast, attacking team like Atalanta. 8. That’s how many points Real dropped in the Champions League group stage this season. Of those eight points, all were dropped after conceding first (home and away to Shakhtar Donetsk and away to Borussia Monchengladbach). In all of their group stage wins (both home and away against Inter Milan and at home against Borussia Monchengladbach) Real scored first. Real cannot let Atalanta get in front first. First Leg Prediction: Atalanta 2 -2 Real Madrid Second Leg Prediction: Atalanata 2 -1 Real Madrid Borussia Monchengladbach vs Manchester City 3 Key Stats for Borussia Monchengladbach 43. That’s how many years have passed since Gladbach last made the Champions League knockout stages in 1977/78. This team is young, exciting, and inexperienced in Europe. While this does take away some of the weight of expectations, it is a disadvantage against European regulars Manchester City. 16. That’s how many goals Gladbach scored in the Champions League group stage, tied for second most with Barcelona. However, 10 of those 16 were against Shakhtar Donetsk. This attack can clearly score, but their true quality in the UCL is uncertain, especially given their shutout in their key sixth round match with Real Madrid. 6. That’s how many points Gladbach picked up in the Bundesliga between Champions League matchday 5 and the winter break. They failed to win a single league game and lost both UCL games (against Inter and Real Madrid) in that period. Balancing domestic and European competition is hard for any team, for a young and relatively inexperienced team like Gladbach even more-so. 3 Key Stats for Manchester City 14. That’s how many goals Manchester City have conceded in the Premier League, the lowest in the league and second best in Europe’s top five leagues behind Atletico Madrid. City allowed 4.3 shots per game in the Champions league group stage, the best in the competition. Yes, they had hands down the easiest group, but the domestic dominance of their defence shows that this is no fluke. Gladbach will need to be absolutely clinical in front of goal if they want any chance of an upset. 9. That’s how many goals Manchester City’s leading goalscorer has in the Premier League. That goalscorer? Ilkay Gundogan. City have been without Sergio Aguero for most of the season, and Raheem Sterling is not scoring at the same rate as in seasons prior. Stopping City’s attack will not be as challenging as before, an encouraging sign for Gladbach. 21. That’s how many games City have gone unbeaten in all competitions since losing to Tottenham on November 21, 2020. The past 14 games have all been wins, including a 4-1 drubbing of Liverpool. City's attack may not be scoring as many goals as before, but this team is a machine when it comes to getting results. First Leg Prediction: Borussia Monchengladbach 1 - 3 Manchester City Second Leg Prediction: Borussia Monchengladbach 1 - 2 Manchester City

Who were the Most and Least Efficient Spenders of the last NBA Decade

Can teams expect to gain more wins by spending more money? In this article, we analyze spending behavior and look at some of the most efficient spenders of the past decade. It's hard to compete for an NBA title when your owner is stingy, just ask any Phoenix Suns fan. They'll recount the horror stories of Robert Sarver trading away draft picks for cash considerations and undervaluing his players. The three man core of Nash-Stoudemire-Marion remain one of the best trios to have never won a championship and the blame can justifiably be put on Sarver. Being cheap obviously has its consequences but can the same be said about overpaying? The Golden State Warriors made headlines entering the 2020-2021 NBA season by amounting a total payroll of $173,524,090, one of the highest in league history. In this article we'll take a look at NBA spending over the past decade and identify how it affects regular season wins. How Much are Teams Spending? to interact with the full sized dashboard, click here A first impression reveals that there is almost no correlation between spending and regular season wins, at least in the past decade. In fact, the r-squared value is a measly 0.11, indicating that there is very little association between the two variables. This brings us to the obvious conclusion, it's not how much you spend but rather how you spend it; quality over quantity. The average NBA team spent $745,276,160 in salary money over the past decade and won 399.6 games on average. This amounts to $1,865,055.46 spent per win. We will set this value as our baseline. Teams spending above this amount fall below average in salary per win efficiency and teams spending below this amount are above average in salary/win efficiency. Teams with Above Average Salary/Win Efficiency: San Antonio Spurs, Portland Trailblazers, Houston Rockets, Golden State Warriors, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies Teams with Below Average Salary/Win Efficiency: New York Knicks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers What Stands Out? The San Antonio Spurs were the most efficient spenders of the past decade, spending only $1,447,418 per win. Much of their success can be attributed to their player development and scouting departments as they were able to get a lot value out of their rookies, like Kawhi Leonard, limiting their need to break the bank on other stars. They led the league in wins at 541 while only ranking 6th in money spent. On the other hand, the New York Knicks were by far the least efficient spenders, spending $2,532,120 per win, almost $7,000,000 more than the average team. They're a franchise characterized by poor ownership and bad management. Despite being the 4th highest spenders, they ranked 28th in wins. From what we've seen so far, spending more money doesn't lead to getting more wins. The top left and bottom right quadrants provide further evidence. Many of the league's small market teams fall into these quadrants. The Portland Trailblazers, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, and Utah Jazz all spent less money than average and won more than average. On the other hand, the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, New Orleans Pelicans, and Washington Wizards spent more money than average and won less than average. All of these teams fall into the small market category but what separates them is their management and player development. Salary efficiency is an interesting topic and a revealing one too. I chose to look at salary over the past decade as 10 years is enough for teams to go through multiple contract cycles, preventing them from being punished too heavily for one bad contract, such as the Memphis Grizzlies' Chandler Parson Contract. Unfortunately, many of the teams that find themselves in the top left quadrant have remained there for quite some time due to repeated poor decisions and they may find themselves stuck there for the entirety of this decade too. Overall, the conclusion of the graphic is clear; good teams spend their money more wisely. While it's true that some of the most successful regular season teams spend a lot of money, many reckless spenders end up wasting their dollars. What separates the good and bad front offices aren't the quantity of cash on hand, but rather how they use their money.

Top NHL Players This Season - Fenwick and PDO

Which NHL team has been most dominant in puck possession thus far in the season? Is a player’s current fenwick percentage related to their season PDO? NHL Team Productivity Hockey is all about puck possession and taking advantage of scoring chances, among many other things. For the sake of this article, we are only going to take into account PDO and fenwick to analyze team and player’s performances. Using the fenwick statistic to accurately predict a team’s total puck possession is quite useful when it comes to both scouting and spectating. Now that this season has a solidified base of games we can compile enough data to more effectively calculate both team and player fenwick percentages. For a quick refresher, fenwick is calculated by the following formula: (Shots on goal FOR + missed shots FOR) – (Shots on goal AGAINST + missed shots AGAINST). On a team level, a positive fenwick would indicate that a team possesses the puck more in the offensive zone rather than the defensive zone. On the flip side, a negative fenwick result would indicate that a team spends more time in their defensive zone rather than the offensive zone. With this in mind, when we take a look at the current team percentages we can note that the Golden Knights have come in on top with a fenwick percentage of 56.55%. This is just a small lead over the Carolina Hurricanes at 56.23%. This infers that not only are the Knights and Hurricanes getting a lot of quality scoring chances, but they are also hitting the net on their shots. What this statistic also tells us is that the Knights and Hurricanes are dominating in puck possession, and whether they’re actually capitalizing on all of this possession time and scoring chances is another story. Regardless of capitalization, these teams are dominating the possession charts. Relation between a player’s fenwick to PDO Taking a look at an individual player’s fenwick is extremely useful to determine if they are on the right track offensively and defensively. A player with a higher fenwick is outshooting the opposition on the ice, which of course, is a great thing to be doing. Just as a reminder, a player with a fenwick above 60 is considered very good. Taking a look at our charts, the player leading the fenwick charge is Karson Kuhlman of the Boston Bruins. 75.76% is a phenomenal fenwick, especially considering he is in great company on the stat sheet; leading star players like Joe Thornton, David Pastrnak, and even his teammate Patrice Bergeron. Kuhlman’s absurdly high statistic is drowned out by the fact that he has only okayed two of the eleven games, compared to his counterparts playing every game. Jesper Bratt, right behind Kuhlman, is a more accurate depiction of how this stat is useful in assessing on-ice performance. He currently has a fenwick of 67.50%, which is still a very impressive statistic. Comparing this possession statistic to his performance statistic(PDO), he comes in at 90.60%. What this tells us is that despite his dominant on-ice performance on the possession side, he’s actually underperforming in terms of potential. Taking into consideration he has more gas in the tank performance-wise, we can predict that Bratt is on pace to be going to be commanding a strong performance in the future. Player / Team Fenwick to Date

England's tour of India: Test Preview

India must beat England by a 2-match margin to book their place in the World Test Championship final. If India lose 1 Test, they will need to win the remaining 3. In short, India has to win either 4-0, 3-1, 3-0, or 2-0. If India loses 0-3 of 0-4, they will not make the final regardless of other results. The spin of R Ashwin and Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav against in-form Joe Root will be Key to team India’s success. The Indian batting lineup will face a strong test against the experience of James Anderson and Stuart Broad. The lack of experience of the English spinners, Dom Bess and Jack Leach can become an issue for the English. The pitches in Chennai and Ahmedabad will play a big role in team selection. It will be interesting to see if the teams go with two specialist spinners or they pick Moeen Ali and Axar Patel as allrounders After a long wait, Cricket is back in India and it couldn’t get better as the team comes up against the former colonizer as is a tour comprising of 4 test matches, 5 t20’s and 3 ODI matches. The first test will kick off on the 5th of February in Chennai at the Chepauk stadium. The second game willBe played in the same venue before the teams fly to Ahmedabad for the other two games the first of which will debut the new 110,000 seater Motera stadium. Team News: India In’s India will see the return of captain and talisman Virat Kohli who missed the last three games in Australia due to the birth of his first child. Ishant Sharma, India’s most experienced pacer, who missed the series Downunder after suffering muscle injury during the IPL will be available for selection. He gained match fitness and got some game time in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Similarly, Jasprit Bumhra who missed the last test at the GABBA with an abdomen strain is back to full fitness. R Ashwin too will make his way back into the team after missing the GABBA test. Another key addition to the squad will be that of Hardik Pandya although he isn’t likely to bowl due to his back injury issues. Bowling all-rounder Axer Patel also finds a spot in the squad. Out’s The two biggest misses for team India will be Mohd Shami, who was injured in the later stages of the Boxing Day Test, and Ravi Jadeja who injured himself in the Sydney Test. Both are set to stay out of contention for a place in the side through the series. Hanuma Vihari too will miss most of the series after suffering a hamstring injury in Australia. Young opener Prithvi Shaw fell out of favor after the poor run of form and has been dropped from the side along with Pace bowler T Natarajan. England In’s After being given a test for the Sri Lanka Tour, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer both make a comeback in the squad for the tour of India. Batsman Rory Burns also makes his way back into the side after being given leave during the Sri Lanka series due to the birth of his child. Young batsman Ollie Pope too will return to the squad after recovering from a shoulder injury. Early speculation suggests that wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow is set to miss the first two tests and rejoin the squad in Ahmedabad for the last two tests. Allrounders Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes both make a return to the squad after missing out in the Sri Lanka series. Out’s Young English all-rounder Sam Curran has been left out of the squad for the test series and along with pace bowler Mark Wood Full Squads: India: Virat Kohli (C), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya (VC), KL Rahul, Hardik, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Washington Sundar, Ishant Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Md. Siraj, Shardul Thakur England: Joe Root (C), Jofra Archer, Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Olly Stone, Chris Woakes. There has been a fundamental change in the pitches presented in India over the past decade or so. Gone are the days where pitches were very batting-friendly and first-innings scores use to exceed 500+ leading to games without results. The first two games bring in Chennai are key as India hasn’t lost a Test in Chennai since 1999. The Indian Spin attack at home is a pain to complete against. It is going to be a monumental performance for the inexperienced English spinning attack to match the numbers of R Ashwin and Kuldeep Yadav. With the exception of Joe Root, most of the English top order seems rather inexperienced. I would predict a 2-0 sweep by India in Chennai. Going to Ahmedabad, I am not too sure of how the new pitch at the Motera Stadium will perform, and with no data available it will be difficult to predict outcomes. Just based on recent form and pure ability, I’m putting myself out there and going for a 3-0 series win for India.

The Greatest Bargain in January Transfer Window History?

After a row with Atalanta, Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez signs until 2024 for Sevilla. The transfer fee is reported to be €5m plus add-ons. The Argentine playmaker Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez has left Atalanta for Sevilla and made his debut against UD Almería in the Copa del Rey playing 60 minutes on February 2nd. The 32-year-old has signed a contract until 2024 and the transfer fee is believed to be around 5m plus add-ons. In a stingy January transfer window, Sevilla has managed to pull off one of the bargains of the best budget signings of all time. Gomez has been a superstar for Atalanta in recent years and after their Champions League heroics last year. He spent 7 years in Atalanta (2014 to 2021) scoring 59 goals and providing 71 assists in more than 250 appearances. Let’s see how Gomez performed last year compared to the next best creative midfielders in the Serie A: Criteria: League: Serie A Position: CM, CAM Matches: 30+ Gomez outperformed the likes of Dybala, Pjanic, and Ruiz in terms of Goals+Assists, with 0.52 assists he is the clear leader in contributions. Only second in goals to Juventus playmaker Paulo Dybala (0.46) with 0.22 goals per 90 minutes. Photo credits: Marca | Data: FbRef

Should the Nets Trade Kyrie Irving?

The Brooklyn Nets defensive is not good enough to win the title Trading Kyrie Irving may be the best way to improve their defense The newest big three in the NBA was recently formed when the Brooklyn Nets traded for James Harden. There has not been a time in the NBA where a team had three players that could score on this level. However, should the Nets keep this trio together? If they want to win a title, probably not. First, let's look at past NBA champions. Below is a graph of the offensive ratings of the last 10 NBA champions. Offensive ratings is how many points a team scores per 100 possessions. NBA champions tend to have an offensive rating of at least 110, with only one team having a rating outside below 110. So, can the Nets achieve this offensive rating without Kyrie? Let's look at the offensive ratings of KD's and Harden's past teams. Since 2011, KD has never been on a team with an offensive rating below 110. Harden has been on two teams below this number, 2015 and 2016, but Harden did not have a teammate close to as talented as Durant. Thus, I believe that without Kyrie, the Nets could still have an effective enough offensive to win a championship. So the issue becomes defensive. Do the Nets have a good enough defensive to win it all? Let's look at the defensive ratings of the past 10 title winners. Defensive rating is the number of points allowed per 100 possessions. The above defensive ratings range from 100 - 108 (remember, lower is better.) The Brooklyn Nets currently have a defensive rating of 113. This is not good enough to beat a team like the Lakers who have a defensive rating of 106. How can the Nets improve their defense? Trading Kyrie for defensive help may be the answer. Kyrie is not a good defender. In his career, his team has had a better defensive rating when he has been off the floor. See below. In conclusion, it's pretty simple, the Nets would have a championship caliber offensive without Kyrie, and their defense is not good enough. Factor in the unreliability of Kyrie Irving, and trading him makes sense. Now it comes down to what trade can the Nets make. They won't get a James Harden level haul for Kyrie, due to his previously mentioned unreliability and injury history. Is Avery Bradley and Andre Iguodala from the Miami Heat enough of a defensive upgrade? Probably not, but it's not as bad as it seems. What about Myles Turner and Justin Holiday from the Pacers? I like this trade as Turner is an excellent rim protector, which the Nets desperately need, and Holiday is a solid perimeter defender. One last trade idea is Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe from the Pelicans. This gives the the Nets two excellent perimeter defenders that can both be on the floor together when KD is playing power forward. All of these trades make sense and are something the Nets need to consider. We'll see what happens. Stats from: pbpstats.com and basketballreference.com

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