In the fifth episode of Ted Lasso, Ted and his wife, Michelle, are trying to save their marriage, but they both realize it’s not going to work. Ted tearfully tells Michelle that she doesn’t have to try anymore even though he promised to never quit anything in his life. Moved by Ted’s words, Michelle says, “But you’re not quitting, Ted. You’re just letting me go.”
I’m watching a show where Jason Sudeikis looks like an extra for Bill Swerski’s Super Fans, and yet I’m emotional and heartbroken over Ted’s failing marriage. What is going on?
To say Ted Lasso caught the world by surprise would be an understatement. When Sudeikis originally did the character in 2013, it was an entertaining skit; nothing more, nothing less. Never in a million years did I believe it could succeed as a television show.
A record 20 Emmy nominations later, and the egg is on my face. I could not have been more wrong about Ted Lasso. It’s a comedy at heart, but it provides so much compassion that my cynicism takes a backseat for 30-minutes at a time.
2020 was a rough year for America. The pandemic kicked our asses, plain and simple. Yet a coach in a mustache and sweater injected more hope into the world than any news program on television. Ted Lasso is a load of fun. However, the fact that it was one of the only positive programs in 2020 aided in its meteoric rise.
When we first meet the new coach, every member of Richmond thinks Ted’s schtick will never work. The team’s fans scream and yell “wanker” at Ted whenever they see him. The team’s captain, Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein, one of the show’s creators), tells Ted to “fuck off” more times than not.
And yet, Ted’s positivity attaches to the team (and the audience at home) like a parasite. Bad attitudes turn into positive thoughts. Ted’s charm wins you over as the series progresses. Even the team’s owner, Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham), who hired Ted so the team could fail, appreciates Ted’s humility and emphasizes with him by the Season 1 finale.
Television has been dominated by antiheroes in the 21st century. Tony Soprano, Walter White, Don Draper, and 85% of the characters in The Wire have no idea what it means to be a morally good person. Ted Lasso and his heart fill a much-needed void in television. If done correctly, something as simple as being a good guy can shine, and no one shines brighter than Ted.
In her column for Variety, Caroline Framke said, “Above all odds, Ted Lasso chipped away at my skepticism until there was none left — just like the character himself does to everyone he meets.”
As Ted Lasso begins Season 2, my skepticism has disappeared. It’s time to root for our hero, the good guy.
Do you like Ted Lasso? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.
Behind a legendary performance from Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks overcame a 2-0 series deficit to defeat the Phoenix Suns and win the NBA Championship. After scoring 50 points in the series-clinching game, Giannis could not hold back tears when describing his journey to the top of the NBA.
We’re running out of adjectives to describe Giannis and his journey to the NBA. Inspiring stands above the rest. From selling purses in the streets of Greece to picking up a basketball for the first time at age 12, Giannis is the culmination of how a dream and a strong work ethic can lead to great things. My favorite Giannis story is the time he wired all of his money back to his family in Greece, which meant he had to run to the arena in the cold since he couldn’t afford a cab.
Giannis’s journey off the court should not overshadow what he did on the court to win the championship. Giannis has been knocking on the door of greatness since the 2019 season, where he won his first MVP. After losing to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals despite having a 2-0 series lead, doubt started to creep in as many felt Giannis would need to join up with other superstars to win a title. Kawhi shut down Giannis in those last four games, and Giannis’s offensive limitations started to stand out.
The next season, Giannis went scorched earth, averaging 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.0 blocks on his way to his second-straight MVP. Oh, by the way, the Greek Freak also won Defensive Player of the Year in that same season. Giannis ascended into the top 5 for player rankings, but his team came up short again, losing embarrassingly to the Miami Heat in the Conference Semifinals.
Let’s be honest. There are a lot of players who would’ve left Milwaukee if they were in Giannis’s shoes. At the very least, most players would have entertained free agency instead of signing an extension before the season. The possibility of teaming up with another superstar like Luka Doncic would entice many players to consider their options.
To steal a quote from LeBron James, Giannis is “built different.”
Giannis signed the supermax before this past season, lead the Bucks to the NBA Finals, and won the whole damn thing. Not bad for a guy who shot 18% from behind-the-arc in the playoffs.
It cannot be understated how good Giannis was during the Finals. These numbers are staggering, considering it came on the biggest stage in the most important spot of the season.
Game 1 – 20 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and 2 block
Game 2 – 42 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks
Game 3 – 41 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1 steal
Game 4 – 26 points, 14 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, and an iconic block
Game 5 – 32 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists, and an iconic alley-oop
Game 6 – 50 points, 14 rebounds, 2 assists, 5 blocks, and 17/19 from the line
Going into the playoffs, Giannis solidified his spot in the top 5 for player rankings. Before the Finals, the Greek Freak was in the top 3, no questions asked, alongside LeBron and Kevin Durant.
After last night, Giannis became the best player in the NBA. Giannis crowned himself a year too early, but he earned that crown last night. LeBron and KD are talented enough to take back the title of best in the league next season, but for now, it’s Giannis’s league.
When you look at Giannis’s resume, it’s arguably the best resume of all time through age 26.
Only two players have multiple MVPs, DPOY, and a Finals MVP. It’s Michael Jordan and Giannis.
The NBA has been searching for someone to take the torch from LeBron as the face of the league. An athletic, humble, and likable superstar from Greece might be the perfect option.
Do you think Giannis is the new face of the league? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.
After the exciting finale to a superb season of Loki, the first thought in my head did not revolve around Season 2, which was confirmed in a post-credits scene. (Light spoilers from here on out.) All I could think about was Michael Waldron and how he needs to be the driving force behind the MCU for the next decade.
Waldron is the creator and showrunner of Loki, the best Marvel television show up to this point. In the series, an alternate version of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is brought before the Time Variance Authority (TVA), an organization that monitors the universe’s timeline, making sure there are no anomalies or disruptors. When Loki picked up the Tesseract in Endgame, he became a “variant,” or someone that disrupts the timeline. Loki is given the decision to work for the TVA to erase other variants and fix the timeline or be pruned (banished) from existence.
If you’re not a Marvel fan, that might sound confusing. I’ve seen 95% of the films and television shows in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the TVA still left me with more questions than answers.
Out of the three Marvel shows on Disney+, Loki had the hardest task because of all the legwork needed to explain the concept of time and how a character that died in Infinity War ended up surviving. Loki needed to expound on the TVA, explain the logistics of time travel and timelines, and introduce the idea of a multiverse all within six episodes.
If this was a test, Loki passed with flying colors. The series perfectly balanced the creation of a self-contained television show that can stand on its own with furthering the overall plot in the MCU. Most of the Marvel films and shows serve as stepping stones for a bigger storyline like the Infinity Saga. Properties like Loki and Black Panther can almost stand on their own, which is a compliment to the world their creators built.
It sounds so simple, but Waldron perfectly understands that Loki is a television show, not an “X-hour movie.” Movies were not meant to be six hours. Television shows that treat their story as a movie usually have inferior episodes that are heavy on explanations and rely on explosive cliffhangers to move the plot. Waldron and Loki follow the rules of television with a beginning, middle, and end with a scene in the final moments to advance the plot and provide the next episode a starting point to work off of. In an age that’s bogged down with shows acting like 10-hour movies, it’s refreshing to see Waldron follow a TV formula that’s worked since the beginning of television.
In six episodes, Waldron and director Kate Herron created multiple shows in one. The first two episodes played like a buddy-cop dramedy thanks to the amazing chemistry between Hiddleston and Owen Wilson’s Mobius. Then, the next two episodes weaved in a romantic dramedy with Sophia Di Martino’s Sylvie. Episode 5 felt like a backdoor pilot thanks to the multiple iterations of the titular character in the Void. Finally, Episode 6 introduced a new villain into the MCU but also treated the finale like a show that was coming back for a second season. Ending on a cliffhanger and leaving the audience with more questions than answers is an efficient way to transition into Season 2.
Kevin Feige’s strength is long-term planning. Feige always sees the endgame (couldn’t help myself), and understands how to move from point A to point B over a long period of time. Feige needs help with putting the pieces of the puzzle together with character development, and that’s where Waldron succeeds. Who would’ve thought that one of the most emotional moments in Loki would be a hug between Hiddleston and Wilson in episode 5? Because of the groundwork and attention to detail from Waldron in establishing this relationship in the early episodes, a hug celebrating the friendship between two characters was a tremendous payout that the audience earned.
This ability to develop interesting and noteworthy characters is why Waldron is set to become one of the most important voices of Dinsey going forward. His innate talent is why Feige chose Waldron to write Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and his top-secret Star Wars film. In a Vanity Fair piece, Waldron described the Doctor Strange sequel as his version of “Indiana Jones.” Sign me up right now.
Waldron has a clear vision of how to develop characters in the MCU. Because of Loki‘s success, it’s time to give him the keys to the future of the MCU. Instead of Steve Rogers, Waldron should now be the one to say, “Avengers, assemble.”
Did you enjoy Loki? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.
On paper, Team USA is the most talented basketball team in the world. After two exhibition games, their superior talent hasn’t translated to victories.
Team USA lost their second exhibition game on Monday night, falling to Australia, 92-83, in Las Vegas, NV. This comes off the heels of their historic 90-87 loss to Nigeria this past Saturday night, where Team USA was a 29.5 point favorite going into the game. For context, the United States defeated Nigeria, 156-73, at the 2012 Olympics.
Team USA has been the most dominant international basketball team for the past 30 years. Since 1992, Team USA is 53-3 in the Olympics with all three losses coming in 2004. Furthermore, the United States had been 54-2 in major exhibitions since the 1992 Dream Team before dropping two straight games over the last three days.
Exhibitions are unofficial games but don’t tell that to the rest of the world. Playing against the USA is the equivalent of playing for a championship. Because almost every top International team has NBA players, the days of fearing Team USA may be of the past. Just ask Joe Ingles, who said that his Australian team expected to beat Team USA.
Losing two exhibition games is not the end of the world for Team USA, but it’s a cause for concern. The offensive chemistry will most likely improve considering the team has some of the most talented scorers in the world like Kevin Durant, Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, and Jayson Tatum.
The problem with Team USA is rooted in its roster construction. On paper, 11 of the 12 players on the roster have made an all-star team. The team is constructed of combo guards and versatile wings that can guard multiple positions on defense.
This roster would thrive in the NBA, but the International game is much different. Teams are more traditionally structured, where multiple big men play at once, defenses pack the paint (no defensive three seconds), and teams consistently run offensive sets. It’s not the “3 and D” style that the NBA has morphed into over the past few seasons.
Plus, there is more physicality, and the US team lacks a dominant big man. Small ball will work against the inferior teams, but the United States could run into problems with bigger opponents due to their lack of size. It’s important to note that Australia outrebounded Team USA, 23-20.
The international game is officiated much differently. The refs are not as inclined to call touch fouls like they do in today’s NBA. To be honest, it’s refreshing, but so far, the Americans have failed to adjust to the officiating.
Team USA’s late-game execution has been horrendous. Australia ended the game on an 11-1 run to seal the victory. The Americans are looking to players like Lillard and Durant to bail them out on offense by playing iso-ball. That hasn’t worked in two exhibition games. Although Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday will join the squad after the NBA Finals, this team desperately needs a traditional, playmaking point guard like Chris Paul to get into their sets and generate easy buckets.
Why did Team USA select Kevin Love? In two exhibition games, Love has 0 points, 1 rebound, and 1 assist. In other words, Love has been nonexistent. Instead of selecting an aging veteran who could be bought out of his contract, the United States would have been better off filling this spot with a young point guard like De’aaron Fox, LaMelo Ball, Ja Morant, or Trae Young. If they elected to go with a rim protector instead, then Jarrett Allen or even Evan Mobley come to mind.
Team USA may still go undefeated at the Tokyo Olympics and frankly, they shouldn’t lose a game with their talent. If they do lose, then roster construction will be the reason for their downfall.
Do you think the United States men’s basketball team will win the gold medal? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.
Khris Middleton reminds me of M. Night Shyamalan’s filmography. It’s a neverending circle of confusion that starts as good, turns to bad at the halfway mark, and circles back up to good.
There are times where Shymalan looks like one of the most important directors of the last 30 years with films such as The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs. Then, Shymalan will direct bad films like The Happening and After Earth and make you question if he’s the same guy who was nominated for two Oscars. But, the circle must close back at the top, and adding good films like The Visit and Split completes the circle of confusion.
Are you confused yet? Thankfully, HoopAnalysisNet created Middleton’s circle of confusion.
Just like Shyamalan’s plot twists, Middleton is an enigma. There will be games where he looks like the best player on the floor. Down 3-2 to the Brooklyn Nets, Middleton played the game of his life in a Game 6 win, scoring 38 points. He followed up that performance with 23 points in Game 7 including 11 points in the fourth quarter to help the Bucks advance past the Nets.
Following the circle, Middleton must come back to Earth, which he did in the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals, scoring 15 points in a Game 1 loss and 15 points in a Game 2 win. In the next four games, Middleton becomes Michael Jordan as the Bucks win three of the next four games to advance to the NBA Finals.
If we follow the circle, Middleton must forget how to play basketball at some point. Guess what? That’s exactly what happened in Game 2 of the NBA Finals where Middleton looked lost on the offensive end. Middleton ended the game with 11 points on 5 of 16 shooting and a Plus/Minus of -15.
Middleton either plays like of the 20 best players in the NBA or someone outside of the top 100. It’s baffling considering the Bucks paid him a max contract when he only showcases his true potential 70% of the time. Players can have bad games, but as the second-best player on the Bucks, it’s inexcusable to have this many no-shows.
For the Bucks to win, Middleton needs to become the lethal scorer from the end of the Nets and Bucks series. Jrue Holiday isn’t helping out whatsoever on the offensive side, but he’s still the third option. Middleton is the clear second option behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the Greek Freak cannot win this series alone.
We can sit here and draw up offensive strategies where Middleton can exploit the Suns’ defense. If the Bucks can get Deandre Ayton into foul trouble, then Middleton can put Ayton’s backups (Frank Kaminsky and Jalen Smith) into pick and rolls and either create easy jump shots or get to the foul line.
That being said, it comes down to consistency. If Middleton can shoot over 40% from the field and score more than 25 points, the Bucks will win games. If he doesn’t, then it could be a short series.
Middleton has been good with his team’s back against the wall all playoffs. Let’s see which player shows up for Game 3 on Sunday night.
In a match between two Hall of Fame quarterbacks and two elite golfers, no one wanted to talk about who could drive the ball the longest or birdie the most holes. All everyone wanted to discuss was the future of Aaron Rodgers.
Well, everyone except Rodgers.
During Capital One’s The Match, Rodgers teamed up with Bryson DeChambeau to defeat Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson. It’s hard to look at Rodgers and Brady on the same course and not think of what transpired during the 2021 NFC Championship Game. I’m sure Green Bay’s star player would happily trade this golf win for a chance to go for it on fourth and goal.
Most people including myself use golf as an escape. Nothing beats hanging outside with your friends, drinking a few beers, and hitting a tiny white ball around for a few hours. The last thing anyone wants to talk about on the course is work.
However, The Match was anything but an escape as the topic of his future in Green Bay was discussed multiple times throughout the broadcast. The most relevant clip occurred when Brian Anderson asked Rodgers if he would be the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers on Opening Day.
Like he’s done all offseason, Rodgers sidestepped the question with a cryptic remark, saying “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Does he really not know what’s going to happen? The reigning MVP acts cool, calm, and collected, but he’s just as calculated as Brady. These remarks were another chance to express his unhappiness with the Packers organization.
“I don’t know” is an answer of uncertainty, but in this case, it’s Rodgers who doesn’t know what to do, not the Packers. He wants a breakup with the Packers, but he wants the Packers to do it for him. Reports of frustration and unhappiness have been reported in the media, and Rodgers skipped OTAs to hang with Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller, and Keleigh Teller. (For the record, I would also choose Hawaii over OTAs.)
If Rodgers wants out so badly, all he has to do is ask. Yet, he’s never publicly said he wants to leave the Packers or demanded a trade.
Rodgers didn’t anticipate the Packers to bluff when the report about his disappointment with the organization leaked on draft night. He thought the team would cave into these reports and trade away the superstar. To the Packers’ credit, they stood their ground and didn’t budge. Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said they will “not trade” Rodgers.
It all comes back to the “I don’t know” remark. It’s not about the Packers. It’s about Rodgers and if he will play the one card he has left, which is to demand a trade and hold out of training camp. This is the nuclear option, but it’s his only remaining option. If Rodgers doesn’t ask out of Green Bay, he will be a Packer for at least one more season.
If Rodgers doesn’t want to talk about the Packers anymore, then I suggest he stays off the golf course.
What do you think the Packers will do with Aaron Rodgers? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.
It’s time to jump into the NBA Trade Machine and come up with unrealistic trades for Damian Lillard. To quote Michael Keaton inBatman, “You wanna get nuts? Come on! Let’s get nuts!”
Who says no first?
The entire NBA community is waiting for Lillard to demand a trade out of Portland, and the first domino fell this past Sunday when Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported that the inability to build a contender and the hiring of Chauncey Billups could push Dame out of town. Haynes is as locked in with Blazers’ news as one can be due to his time spent covering the team and his relationship with Dame so I believe this story.
The story is not a direct trade request, but the groundwork for a future trade has been set. The ball is in Dame’s court. If he wants out, he can go right to management and ask for a trade. Due to his loyalty to the organization, I don’t know if Dame has it in him to publicly request a trade. However, stories like Haynes’s might be a way for Dame to express his frustration with the Blazers and ask the front office for a trade privately.
Because of this story, every single GM should call the Blazers to discuss Lillard’s availability. Dame is one of the 10 best players in the NBA and a true cornerstone for a franchise. Did you watch what he did in Game 5 of the opening round of the playoffs? Imagine if Lillard finally teamed up with other superstars to form a superteam? It’s a scary thought.
Let’s take Lillard’s opinion out of this conversation for one second because we all know he wants to end up on the New York Knicks. (Yeah, I went there.) But seriously, Lillard will have a say in where he wants to end up, but let’s pretend he doesn’t. Which team provides the best trade offer?
Unlike my LeBron for Lillard trade, I’m going to keep this realistic, which means the real trade will be Anthony Davis for Lillard.
Shut up, Dan.
OK, here are some real packages I’ve been seeing that could make sense.
Celtics trade Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, younger players, and multiple first-round picks to the Blazers for Lillard.
Sixers trade Ben Simmons, younger players, and multiple first-round picks to the Blazers for Lillard.
Knicks trade RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, and multiple first-round picks to the Blazers for Lillard.
Thunder trade every first-round pick known to man and players to match salaries for Lillard.
Warriors trade Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, a younger player, the 2021 No. 7 pick, 2021 No. 14 pick, and pick swaps for Lillard.
Pelicans trade Brandon Ingram, younger players, and A LOT of first-round picks for Lillard.
Every team could (and should) create a trade package for Dame. If the Blazers trade Lillard, do they want an ungodly amount of first-round picks or will they only request a few firsts if they receive a talented player in return?
Out of all the trades listed above, the Celtics have the best offer. Brown is an ascending star with a huge upside. Having Brown and multiple first-round picks to build around is a nice consolation prize. Plus, he’s under a fair contract until 2024 so the Blazers have time to construct a winning roster around the 24-year-old.
As good as Boston’s trade might be, there’s still another offer for Lillard that I haven’t mentioned yet. It happens to be the best offer for Lillard. That offer belongs to the Denver Nuggets.
Lillard for Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. is the best offer for the Blazers if their goal is to receive as much talent in return as possible. Murray is a budding star-guard in the NBA who was averaging 21 points per game before tearing his ACL in April. An ACL injury may be a cause for concern, but medicine has come so far in the last 20 years that he could return by the first-quarter of 2022. Barring a huge setback, Murray should return to full strength by the 2022 NBA Playoffs. Plus, for salary cap purposes, the 24-year-old is under his rookie max extension until 2025 so the Blazers have a solid building block for the future.
*For the Dame-Murray/Porter Jr. trade to happen, there are some salary cap issues that Denver would have to maneuver around including Will Barton’s player option. If Barton declines his option, it’s easier to make the trade for Lillard. If Barton opts-in, then Denver would probably have to trade him, which shouldn’t be an issue because many teams would want Barton for at least one year.
Then there’s Porter Jr., who fell down draft boards to No. 14 in 2018 because of a bad medical report. After averaging 19 points per game this past season, many teams regret passing on the talented 23-year-old. Porter Jr. is an electric scorer who hasn’t even scratched the surface of his potential. He’s a 6’10” forward who can create his own shot and hover around 40% from behind the arc. Porter Jr. is a special offensive player who could be a 25-points-per-game scorer in the future.
If the Nuggets want to keep either Murray or Porter Jr., the Nuggets could package one of those stars with multiple first-round picks attached. However, the best deal for Portland is to get both Murray and Porter Jr.
Why would the Nuggets trade two of their star players? Teams need to be more willing to sacrifice young stars for a hall of fame talent like Dame. Once again, did you watch Game 5 of their first-round series? Lillard is one of the three best guards in the NBA. Pairing Dame with Nikola Jokic expedites Denver’s title chances. The Nuggets go from a team on the fringe of being a contender to an immediate contender in the West. With Dame’s ability to create his own shot and Joker’s dynamic passing, this duo would be one of the best in the NBA.
Now, all we can do is wait for Lillard to make a move. Denver, get on the phone.
What do you think the best trade would be for Damian Lillard? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.
To my Pogue family, our long, national nightmare is over. Outer Banks Season 2 hits Netflix on July 30.
It was only a matter of time before Netflix dropped the date for the new season. Production on Season 2 wrapped in April, and exclusive photos released in mid-May. You had fans like myself writing prediction articles as to when Season 2 might air. My best guess was August 6, which means I was exactly one week off. Unfortunately, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Although my incorrect predictions are important, it’s nothing in comparison to the footage that Netflix released from the upcoming season. According to my spirit animal, John B, they are “back in the G-game baby.”
I couldn’t be more amped for the show’s return. Last April, the world was not in a good place. New York City, in particular, was a ghost town. You could walk through Times Square without Elmo, Iron Man, or Cookie Monster asking for a picture and a cash tip. Believe me, that’s very rare for the City.
Anyways, I stumbled upon Outer Banks thanks to the Netflix Top 10 list. 24 hours later, I finished all 10 episodes and bought a pack of bandanas. You could say I was obsessed. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a teen drama.
As we get closer to the show, I’ll provide a breakdown of the official trailer with Season 2 predictions. For now, here are my takeaways from the 39-second clip.
– The Pogues still believe John B and Sarah are dead. It’s a matter of time before the Pogues find out that John B and Sarah are alive in the Bahamas. Also, JJ might be the van Gough of tree memorials.
– John B and Sarah have settled down in the Bahamas as evidenced by their “Middle-Aged Man at a resort” clothing. They’re on the hunt for the gold that Ward Cameron stole from the Pogues before shipping it to the Bahamas. Later in the teaser, the Pogue couple speeds down a road in the Bahamas as they’re most likely on the run from one of Ward’s associates.
– Is this John B and Sarah leaving the cargo ship for the island? Perhaps. It also could be JJ, Pope, and Kie since there is a third person in the motorboat.
– The romance between Kie and Pope is alive! Kie is also seen running away from an enemy. Life in the OBX will be just as crazy as it is in the Bahamas.
– Some beers for the boys?
– Rafe is a train wreck, and I can’t look away. Every person knows a Rafe in their life. He’s a spoiled, pretentious, drug-fueled guy that will be sweating profusely at the bar as he orders shots for everyone in sight. The show needs more Rafe.
Fast forward to July 30 when I don’t leave my apartment until finishing Season 2. See you soon, Pogues.
Are you excited for Outer Banks Season 2? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.
Do the good times outweigh the bad? It’s a question I ask myself whenever I judge someone’s legacy. I’m confident in saying Danny Ainge is a good executive and Brad Stevens is a good coach. Ainge and Stevens both had success with the Boston Celtics, but after a few disappointing seasons in a row, their legacies ran into some problems.
On Wednesday, the Boston Celtics announced that Ainge is stepping down as President of Basketball Operations. Replacing Ainge is Stevens, who will leave his position as head coach to work in the front office.
A change was coming to Boston in some way, shape, or form. This past season was a disaster. After making the Conference Finals in the Bubble, injuries and Covid plagued the Celtics as Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker all missed significant time throughout the year. The lineup of Tatum, Peyton Pritchard, Semi Ojeleye, Jabari Parker, and Grant Williams wasn’t enough (shocker) to defeat the Nets as the Celtics were bounced from the first round of the playoffs.
Theo Epstein, who won championships for both the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs, believes that 10 years is an appropriate amount of time to stay with a team before moving on. Theo’s rationale makes a lot of sense. At some point, the message in year eight or nine doesn’t positively affect the players and organization as it did in year one or two. A new voice for the Celtics is probably a good thing.
Ainge and Stevens have had more highs than lows. Ainge came in guns blazing in 2003 when he traded Antonie Walker, a fan favorite at the time, and essentially made coach Jim O’Brien resign. What happened next? Ainge hired Doc Rivers, and the two began to rebuild. In 2007, “Trader Danny” acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to form the Big Three with Paul Pierce, which resulted in one NBA Championship and two Finals’ appearances in three years.
Ainge also knew when to pull the plug on a team. Ainge committed highway robbery when he traded Garnett and Pierce to the Nets for every draft pick known to man. (Five players, three firsts, and a pick swap, but you get my point.) Trader Danny also acquired Kyrie Irving (more on him later) and drafted Brown and Tatum. Don’t forget that Ainge traded back to take Tatum instead of drafting Fultz.
Here’s what Ainge doesn’t get a lot of credit for, which is surprising. He took hired Stevens! The guy who led Butler to two straight NCAA Championship games became a top 5 NBA coach during the middle of this tenure with the Celtics. Stevens led a team with Isaiah Thomas and Crowder to the Conference Finals in 2017 and followed that up with a Game 7 loss in the same round in 2018.
Overachieving on a team with less talent than the opponent was the theme of Stevens’ tenure. The same underdog mentality he established at Butler translated to the Celtics with three Conference Finals appearances in the last four seasons.
Despite great starts, both Ainge and Stevens start to disappoint in 2019. Kyrie’s tenure in Boston was a disaster. Every GM would have made the Kyrie trade, but it clearly backfired. Stars like Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis would have been perfect to pair with Kyrie, but Ainge didn’t want to take a chance on guys who may not have re-signed long-term with Boston. There is some validity to Ainge’s thought process, but you can’t help but think “what if” they finally pushed their chips in and traded Brown for Kawhi or Tatum for Davis.
That’s one of my biggest gripes with Ainge. He was fearless in the late 2000s, trading fan favorites and draft picks to form a successful Big Three. He won a title because of his boldness. Because the Kyrie trade went sour, the big trades came to a halt. The Cs became the team that “almost” traded for a star. They almost traded for Kawhi and Davis. Almost isn’t good enough to win titles. Even this past year, the Celtics almost traded for Aaron Gordon, who is the third-best player on a Nuggets team with the best record since the All-Star break. Instead, they settled for Evan Fournier. What happened to “Trader Danny” who wasn’t afraid to make the big move?
For as good as Ainge as was drafting stars, he struggled to draft rotation players. Here are Ainge’s last two drafts.
If we’re grading these drafts, 2019 is an F, and 2020 is a D+. That’s not good for an executive that loves to accumulate draft picks. It may be apples and oranges, but the fact remains that the Nets are in a better position to win a championship than the Celtics, which seemed like an impossible task a few years ago.
For Stevens, the “can’t coach superstars” narrative started to form after the Kyrie debacle. In the Bubble, Erik Spoelstra ran circles around Stevens. Spoelstra is an elite coach, but at one point, so was Stevens. Maybe Stevens wasn’t more valuable than a superstar player.
To be fair, if Gordon Hayward doesn’t shatter his foot in Game 1 of the 2017-2018 season, maybe things work out differently for both Ainge and Stevens. However, the Celtics let Hayward walk for nothing this past year in a season where Hayward had the Hornets in the top 6 in the Eastern Conference before his injury.
Now, Stevens will get a chance at redemption when he becomes “the new Ainge.” With no front office experience, finding the right coach and roster to accompany Brown and Tatum will be a tall task for Stevens.
Overall, Ainge and Stevens had moments where they were at the top in their respective positions, but the past few seasons felt like major disappointments. It’s hard to end a relationship on a high note, but Ainge and Stevens’ 2020-2021 season was as sour as it gets. Now, both will look towards new opportunities to rewrite their endings.
What are your predictions for the Celtics’ future? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.
Season 5 is winding down on This Is Us. After last night’s chapter, there are only two episodes left in this unprecedented season. Did last night’s episode feel out of place? The stakes were fairly low for the third to last episode of the season. I’m not saying it was a bad episode, but it felt like something that would air in the middle of a season, not towards the end.
This Is Us Season 5 Episode 14 Recap: “The Music and the Mirror”
Lose Yourself To Dance
Like many small business owners during the pandemic, it’s been a struggle to keep the doors open. Beth’s business fell victim to the pandemic as well, closing her dance studio indefinitely. We’ve seen so many businesses close over the past year so this storyline was all too real.
With the studio closed, Beth decides to rejoin corporate America. Randall notices something off with Beth because a person in the right mental state does not inhale Lucky Charms without any milk. When it comes time for Beth’s virtual meeting, the woman set to interview Beth is forced to reschedule. Oddly, Beth takes this as a sign to not join Corporate America. Instead, she heads to the studio for one final clean-up.
In the past, Beth gave up dancing as a teen, in part because of self-doubt. When Randall surprises Beth with a trip to the ballet on their six-month anniversary, she immediately asks to go home. Beth then explains to Randall how she’s been told her dance talent is not good enough to “make it.” In true Randall fashion, he asks Beth to slow dance. The song? An all-time BANGER.
In the present, Randall went to the studio and asked Beth to slow dance. We’ve seen in a flash-forward that Beth will teach again at her own studio so be patient, fans. Beth will bounce back eventually.
Kate And Toby Are Headed For Trouble
Kate and Toby represent Newton’s Third Law, which states that there is an equal and opposite reaction for every action. Science was my worst school subject, but my teachers would be proud of me for dropping some #knowledge right now.
Kate is thriving as a music teacher while Toby can’t stand unemployment. I don’t blame Toby for feeling this way, but he can’t take it out on Kate. At the Damon household, a leaky pipe caused a schism between Toby and Kate. Toby is determined to fix it without professional health while Kate insists on calling a plumber who might be out of their price range. Kate leaves for the day while Toby attempts to fix the pipe.
Kate accompanies Madison to assist in wedding dress shopping. They are joined by Rebecca. When an upset Madison reveals her father won’t be at her wedding, Rebecca shares heartfelt words of wisdom to cheer her up. Then, Kate and Rebecca reflect on their rocky relationship from the past. Kate admits she was hard on her mother, and apologizes for her actions.
At the school, Kate leads her class in singing “Big Yellow Taxi” by one of Rebecca’s favorite artists, Joni Mitchell. It’s a breakthrough moment for this mother-daughter relationship as Kate finally found her true calling as a music teacher.
Back at home, Toby calls in reinforcements in the form of his father, who I will refer to by his real name, Dan Lauria aka Mr. Arnold from The Wonder Years. After Toby’s father helps repair the pipe, he tells Toby about the time he was unemployed during Toby’s childhood. He then expressed his admiration for the Pearsons and how they are so in touch with their emotions and that Toby should share his feelings with Kate.
Unfortunately, Toby did not listen to his father’s advice and remained quiet about his feelings with Kate. Trouble in paradise on This Is Us?
It was only a matter of time before Kevin’s on-set actions caught up with him. There are only so many movie sets and plays you can walk out on before the industry bites back. Kevin went to a screening of his new movie, and as he said it, “It’s a piece of a crap.”
Kevin panics and heads right to his agency to figure out his next project. Unfortunately, Kevin has developed a negative reputation because of his abrupt exits from projects, so directors aren’t lining up to work with him anymore.
As Kevin leaves the office, he spots Zoe on a virtual conference call and sits down to catch up with his former girlfriend. It’s all friendly until Zoe makes a comment about Kevin’s willingness to give into suggestion. He always rolls with the punches and turns every situation in his favor, which clearly rubs Kevin the wrong way.
Later that night, Kevin suggests watching Bridgerton but gives into Madison’s request for watching The Great British Baking Show, proving Zoe’s point. Kevin, this isn’t a bad flaw! Don’t overthink it. However, Kevin tends to overanalyze everything so it will lead to a future problem.