The Cleveland Browns Continue To Mismanage The Baker Mayfield Situation

Baker Mayfield

Love him or hate him, Baker Mayfield moves the needle. Win or lose, the Browns’ quarterback will be a topic of discussion on every sports talk show come Monday morning.

Entering the 2021 season, the Browns picked up Mayfield’s 5th-year option for 2022, but could not reach a long-term extension. Due to his subpar performance this year, deciding not to extend Mayfield may have been the smart decision in the long run.

Mayfield has done nothing this season to convince the Browns to give him an extension. Mayfield deserves a lot of the criticism thrown his way. The 6-6 Browns boast a roster that could make a Super Bowl, but a quarterback with 2400 yards, 11 TDs, and 6 INTs won’t lead to a Lombardi Trophy.

Coming out of Oklahoma, Baker’s biggest strength was his accuracy, compiling a completion percentage of 70.0 or better in his final two seasons. 70% would be hard to replicate in the NFL, but in his four years with the Browns, Mayfield has a 61.9 completion percentage. This year, Mayfield ranks 27th in completion percentage for quarterbacks who have started at least four games.

No quarterback other than Lamar Jackson receives more criticism than Mayfield. If players don’t get the ball, it’s always Baker’s fault. Just look at the Odell Beckham Jr. saga as an example. At least Lamar is criticized by personalities that cover the sport. Mayfield has to deal with the parents of his teammates making Facebook statuses and IG videos. If you thought helicopter parents disappeared in professional sports, just ask the fathers of OBJ and Kareem Hunt what they think of Mayfield.

Baker Mayfield is a problem on the field, but the Browns did him no favors whatsoever. The majority of the blame should be pointed at Kevin Stefanski, Andrew Berry, and the Cleveland Browns front office.

Mayfield is not fully healthy. The Browns’ quarterback has a torn labrum and fractured humerus bone in his non-throwing shoulder. It will require surgery at the end of the season with a recovery period of 4-6 months. On top of these injuries, Mayfield also has dealt with a knee contusion and a bruised heel.

As a fierce competitor, no one can question Baker’s toughness. He’s playing through a lot of pain, and you can see his grimaces during the games these past couple of weeks.

Despite these injuries, the Browns decided to still trot Mayfield out at less than 100% health. Baker might say he’s good to go, but he continued to limp after every big hit or scramble this past Sunday night. Why was he playing in the first place?

The Browns had a chance to rest their quarterback after suffering a knee contusion in a blowout loss against the Patriots. Instead, Baker hobbled his way to a 16-13 victory over the winless Lions and a 16-10 loss to the Ravens. Ask yourself this question: If Case Keenum started the past two games, what would the results be?

I’m a gambling man, and I bet 90% of people would say the team would go 1-1 with Keenum, which is exactly what Baker did. Had the Browns elected to sit Baker the last two weeks with a bye this week, he would’ve had three full weeks of rest. Instead, he has one week to deal with his lingering issues before facing the Ravens at home on Dec. 12.

Here’s the bigger problem with what the Browns have done to Mayfield. With extension talks expected to restart in the offseason, how can they fairly evaluate their injured quarterback for the rest of the season? If Mayfield struggles the remaining five games, he will blame his injured left shoulder for his poor play, which is a valid reason. The Browns had a chance to sit Mayfield for three weeks and give him the best chance at a fair evaluation for five games. Instead, Baker will have one week of rest before facing the same Ravens team that held the Browns to a season-low 40 yards rushing.

The Browns had a chance to get Baker as healthy as he’ll be all season with multiple weeks of rest. By skipping over this opportunity, it could cost them not only their quarterback’s trust in the organization but more importantly, a playoff berth.

Do you agree with the Browns’ handling of Baker Mayfield? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Thanksgiving: Things I’m Thankful For In Sports

Happy Thanksgiving! Before we all sit down to enjoy a great meal, I wanted to take a few moments to discuss what I’m thankful for in the world of sports.

Things I’m Thankful For In Sports

– The Giants fired Jason Garrett as offensive coordinator. I’m happy that Garrett will not be calling plays for a bottom-10 offense.

– The Giants firing Dave Gettleman. (Calling my shot.)

– The Giants moving on from Daniel Jones. (Calling my shot. Sorry kid. It’s not entirely your fault, but you’re still making rookie mistakes in Year 3 as the starter.)

– The Knicks are relevant again.

– March Madness, the best tournament in sports. Specifically, the first two days of the tournament are on Mount Rushmore for Best Days in Sports.

– The DH. If you like when pitchers go up to bat and strike out on three pitches, then you need to get your head checked.

– The Chargers powder blue jerseys.

– Eli Manning and the New York Giants defeated the Patriots in two Super Bowls.

– Jon Rothstein’s Twitter Account.

– Madison Square Garden, the best arena in the world.

NBA Christmas Day Unders.

– Football. That’s self-explanatory.

– Gambling (even though I lose most of my bets).

– Playoff games at Yankee Stadium.

– NFL Redzone.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

2021-2022 NBA Week 5: Fair Reaction Or Overreaction?

Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors / NBA

Welcome to the second edition of “Fair Reaction or Overreaction.” We’re about five weeks through the NBA season, and some teams are starting to rise to the top. For every reaction, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and that reaction is known as the Houston Rockets.

Sorry, Houston. Let’s get into the article.

Are these fair reactions or overreactions?

Fair Reaction: The Wizards Are A Playoff Team

I have a working theory called “The Island of Misfit Toys That Come Together.” There’s value in a group of unwanted or undervalued NBA players coming together to play basketball. They remind me of last year’s Knicks. For the first time in half a decade, the Wizards have a roster full of legitimate NBA players. Bradley Beal finally has help.

Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are playing like guys who don’t have the pressure of playing for LeBron. Spencer Dinwiddie has been a nice addition, averaging just under 16 points. The Wizards stand atop the Eastern Conference at 10-4, and Bradley Beal has been average compared to his standards (23 PPG this year). I don’t think the Wizards are the best team in the East, but I’m convinced they could be a playoff team. Once they get Rui Hachimura and Thomas Bryant back, this team could be a darkhorse top 6 team.

Overreaction: The Lakers Are Not A Top 4 Team

Stop this nonsense. The Lakers are only 8-8 and yet you would think hell froze over with the hot takes being thrown around by fans and the media. “Russell Westbrook sucks,” “Anthony Davis will get hurt,” and “Frank Vogel doesn’t know how to coach” are some of the insults being thrown around in La La Land. Are some of those true? The AD one is a stone-cold lock. Westbrook doesn’t suck, but he’s flawed. Vogel can coach, but he needs one man.

LeBron James.

If there’s anything we know about the King, it’s that he can right the ship when he’s healthy. Health is the Lakers’ biggest advisory. If LeBron and AD are healthy, the Lakers are at worst the fourth-best team in the best.

Fair Reaction: The Warriors Are The Best Team In The NBA

After destroying the Nets, 117-99, the Golden State Warriors are the best team in the NBA. At 12-2, this team is ahead of schedule. The plan was to hover around .500 until Klay Thompson comes back, and then try to sneak into the top 4. Expectations have changed as the Warriors should have title aspirations

Steph Curry doesn’t miss shots anymore. He’s averaging 28.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 6.6 APG on 45/40/95 shooting splits. Jordan Poole has been a revelation, averaging 17.1 ppg. The most underrated part about the Warriors is the ability to come out of halftime and blitz teams. They are the best offensive team in the third quarter with a +13.6 scoring margin. That’s a testament to Steve Kerr and his ability to adjust.

If Klay can be 75% of the player he once was, the Warriors should cruise to the Western Conference Finals.

What are your reactions towards the NBA season so far? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.com

The Joe Judge Experiment Has Gone Haywire

Joe Judge New York Giants

When Joe Judge was hired by the New York Giants in 2020 to be their next head coach, he said all the right things at the opening press conference. Discipline, work ethic, and accountability were three characteristics that Judge prided himself on. Even though he lacked experience as a head coach or offensive/defensive coordinator, Judge appeared to bring a sense of hard work and energy that the Giants desperately lacked under Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur.

I wrote this last year after the Judge’s hire.

“From an introductory standpoint, (Joe) Judge hit a home run. It’s clear he wants to turn things around by focusing on the fundamentals, finding well-disciplined players, and playing hard on both sides of the ball.”

Throughout last season, I believed in and defended Judge from a coaching perspective. Although the NFC East was atrocious, the Giants still had a chance to somehow sneak into the playoffs at 6-10. That’s nothing to brag home about, but the team was playing hard especially on the defensive side of the ball.

The bar is extremely low to give credit to a professional team for “playing hard,” but this is the Giants, a team with the 27-54 record since 2016.

The “Ra-Ra, win one for the Gipper” act only works if you win games. Guess what? Not only are the Giants failing to win, but they’re devastatingly losing close games. Saying the right things matters, but actions speak louder than words. I started to sour on Judge after the brutal loss to the Washington Football Team after a mistake on special teams cost the Giants the game.

The Giants followed up that game with three losses in their next four games. The Giants faltered down the stretch to the Falcons, never stood a chance against the Cowboys, and embarrassed themselves against the Rams.

Did I expect the Giants to win all three of those games? No, but the product on the field doesn’t match what Judge is preaching. There seems to be no accountability or discipline as the Giants have the 10th most penalties in the NFL. But hey, at least the team had to run laps after a game as punishment.

If you couldn’t tell, I’ve lost patience with Judge and his shtick. If you have to challenge players six weeks into the season to “join in the fight,” then you’re losing the locker room.

Is Judge the driving force behind the Giants decline? John Mara deserves most of the blame because he continues to trust Dave Gettleman to build a competitive roster.

I would also cut Judge more slack if Jason Garrett wasn’t calling plays for the offense, and Daniel Jones wasn’t playing quarterback. To be honest, Garrett and Jones haven’t been terrible this season, and I’m sure many will say that Jones is not the root of all problems. To be fair, Jones has been good in spots, especially against the WFT and Saints. But anyone who has watched every game with Jones under center knows he’s not “the guy.”

This past Monday night, the Chiefs wanted to give that game away so badly, but the Giants refused to take it. Patrick Graham called a perfect game on the defensive side of the ball, and the defensive line and secondary gave the offense every chance to take the lead. But Judge, Garrett, and Jones did everything they could to make sure the Giants would lose.

One sequence at the end of the first half showed why Judge should not be the head coach next year. The Giants are trailing 14-7 late in the first half, but they’re in the red zone and face a third-and-four from the 7-yard line. Judge calls a timeout, which is fine if they’re discussing a third-down play and a fourth-down play. On the Manningcast, Michael Strahan asked why teams run plays a yard or two short of the first down marker.

We all know how this story goes.

In conservative Giants fashion, the offense ran a passing play two yards short of the first down. Did the Giants go for it on fourth-and-two from the 5-yard-line?

Nope.

There is a time and place to go for it on fourth down, and that was the situation to roll the dice. However, the Giants kicked a field goal, content with going into the half down four points.

The mistakes kept piling up. In the second half, the “Disciplined Giants” were flagged for taunting, which negated a big play, offsides, which took away an interception, and a facemask, which put the Chiefs into Giants’ territory.

To make matters worse, Joe Judge’s clock management makes Andy Reid look like Doctor Strange. Refusing to call the timeout before the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter and letting precious seconds go to waste is inexcusable.

After all of this, the Giants STILL had a chance to tie or even win the game, down three points with 1:07 left in the fourth quarter. The four plays went like this:

  • Checkdown for a 3-yard gain
  • Sack
  • Incomplete pass
  • Sack

Game over.

With a pedestrian offense and a hit-or-miss defense, what does Judge exactly do for the Giants? Coach a decent special teams unit? Throw away timeouts like it’s expired Halloween candy? Blame the headsets for his coaching miscues? Post World War II quotes on the locker room wall to inspire the guys to play for him?

The Giants are a mess, and Judge is a big reason why. It’s time for Mara to move on from Judge (and Gettleman and Garrett and Jones).

(But we all know Judge is coming back next season.)

Update: COVID outbreak!

What are your thoughts on Joe Judge as the coach of the New York Giants? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @danny_giro.

2021-2022 NBA Week 1: Fair Reaction or Overreaction?

DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls / NBA

After the first week of the NBA season, the Lakers are missing the playoffs, the Warriors are winning the title, and the Timberwolves have the best version of the Big Three.

Are these fair reactions or overreactions?

Fair Reaction: The Bulls And Knicks Can Both Crack The Top 6 In The East

The Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks both have good, competitive teams at the same time. Is this the 1990s? After last night’s 104-103 win, the Knicks moved into a tie for first place in the conference along with the Bulls, Hornets, and Wizards.

Both the Knicks and Bulls have vastly improved on both sides of the ball. The Knicks are now shooting more 3s than last year and it’s paying off as the team is fourth in three point %. For Chicago, Zach LaVine finally has a good supporting cast in Lonzo Ball, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vučević.

It’s still a long shot for both teams to avoid the NBA Play-In Tournament, but it’s not out of the question. If the Bulls and Knicks continue to stay competitive all year, they have a legitimate shot to kick a team out of the Top 6. The two likely candidates to fall out of the Top 6 are the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics.

For the Sixers, the status of Ben Simmons puts the Sixers in no man’s land. Simmons needs to play, or the organization needs to trade him because Embiid desperately needs help. Sitting on the sidelines helps no one. For Boston, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are studs, but they lack a true point guard. Have fun taking turns with Marcus Smart and Dennis Schröder running the point. If the Celtics do not trade for a PG, they are in danger of making the Play-In tournament.

Overreaction: The Nets And Lakers Should Panic

We are just over one week into the season, and things could not be any worse for the two finals’ favorites. Brooklyn is still missing Kyrie Irving due to the vaccine mandate, and James Harden can’t get to the free throw line if his life depended on it. In Los Angeles, LeBron has already begun his load management, and the team blew a 26-point lead to the Oklahoma City Thunder in an overtime loss to the fighting Josh Giddeys.

Both teams sit at 2-3 with clear roster problems that need to be fixed. The Nets need another scorer while the Lakers cannot figure out their rotations. (Why does DeAndre Jordan start?) Luckily for both teams, their stars will help right the ship on their way to the playoffs. There’s no need to overreact, but let’s revisit this at the end of November.

Fair Reaction: The Utah Jazz Are A Good Regular Season Team

The fact that the Jazz are undefeated should surprise no one. Utah has all the pieces to be a good NBA regular season. It’s why I picked Utah to be the #1 seed in the West going into the playoffs. Utah is Top 10 in scoring and second in defensive rating. Say what you want about Rudy Gobert, he’s a monster on the glass and defensive end. Gobert is grabbing 17.8 (!!!) rebounds per game. The Jazz will have to conquer their playoff demons in the Spring, but for now, this team should continue to roll.

Fair Reaction: The Golden State Warriors Can Be A Top 3 Team In The West

I predicted the Warriors would hover around .500 until Klay Thompson’s return, and they would end up with an 8-seed. Hand up, I think I’m going to be wrong. The Warriors are 4-1 and look like a completely different team from a year ago. Steph is, well, doing Steph things (43/40/96 % splits), but unlike last year, his teammates are shouldering the offensive load. Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and Damion Lee are all averaging over 14 ppg. If the Warriors can stay in the top 3 by the time Klay returns, then championship expectations return to the Bay area.

Overreaction: The Minnesota Timberwolves Are A Playoff Team

Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell are accounting for two-thirds of the team’s points per game. It’s great to see their version of the Big Three healthy. I don’t want to rain on Minnesota’s parade, but can we pump the brakes just a bit? Towns and Russell have played less than 30 games together. Edwards, who is an amazing player and personality, is only in his second year. The Wolves have had one winning record since 2005. Let’s see if all three guys can stay healthy before talking about the playoffs.

Fair Reaction: The Mavericks Should Trade Kristaps Porzingis

I’m a firm believer in players needing a “fresh coat of paint” to revitalize their careers. Kristaps Porzingis looks lost in Dallas. He’s far removed from his “unicorn” days pre-ACL injury in New York. Porzingis is averaging 12.7 ppg, 6.0 RPG, and 0.7 apg. Those are good numbers for a backup, not a top player in the third year of a $158 million contract. The sooner the Mavericks can find an offer for Porzingis, the better.

What are your thoughts on the opening week in the NBA? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.com.

2021-2022 NBA Season Preview: Are The New York Knicks Back?

Julius Randle of the New York Knicks

Are the New York Knicks back? Let’s ask Amar’e Stoudemire.

Amar’e might have been 10 years too early on his declaration. But after a 41-31 record that resulted in the team’s first playoff appearance since 2013, the Knicks very well might be back.

In 2020, the Knicks were the scrappy underdogs under first-year coach Tom Thibodeau. The Knicks clawed and battled their way to the fourth-seed in the Eastern Conference through the defense (top 5 in defensive ratings) and rebounding (top 10 in rebounds per game).

On the offensive side of the ball, Julius Randle shattered expectations by becoming a dynamic playmaker on his way to a stat line of 24/10/6 and a trophy for Most Improved Player. Derrick Rose was a godsend at point guard, RJ Barrett improved in almost every statistical category including 3P% (32% to 40%), and Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, and Reggie Bullock all became solid contributed.

Last year was full of surprises. After a successful year, those surprises have now turned into expectations. The days of praying for a 30-win team are over, or at least fans including myself believe those days have passed. Now is the time to build on the momentum from last year and grow into a consistent playoff team.

Things That Must Happen For The Knicks To Take The Next Step

– The Knicks must make the playoffs: I can’t stress this point enough. If the Knicks don’t make the playoffs, then last year was a fluke. All of the building blocks put into place last year mean nothing if this team can’t play meaningful basketball in April. I don’t expect the Knicks to be the four-seed again, but if they don’t make the Play-In Tournament, then the season will be a failure.

– RJ Barrett must become a playmaker: If RJ Barrett wants to become a star in this league, then he must become a playmaker on offense. What do I mean by playmaker? Throughout last season, the go-to play for the Knicks was a Randle isolation. That either lead to a tough make, a missed shot, or a pass for a three. While Jules was amazing for most of the year, his playmaking was nowhere to be found in the Atlanta series. This is where RJ comes in. RJ needs to be able to take his man off the dribble and either get to the rim, pass for an open three or hit a pullup jumper. His 2020 game averages of 3 assists and 3.8 free throws are not going to cut it. Those need to get to 4.5 and 5 at the very least.

– Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier must ease the offensive load for Randle: It sounds obvious, but Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier were paid to play offense. They were brought in for their ability to create offense, especially off the dribble. As I stated above, the go-to play was a Jules-iso. Kemba is the best opening day point guard for the Knicks in over a decade. If he stays healthy, the Knicks have a true starting point guard. With Fournier, he must shake off his preseason shooting woes and become a threat from behind the arc. Anything less than 40% is a failure and I’m being generous with that number.

The Bottomline

Superstars win championships, and right now, the Knicks don’t have any superstars. That’s ok for now. The Knicks must return to the first round of the playoffs and play a competitive series. If the team ends up playing the Nets or Bucks in the postseason, then their season will most likely come to an end. However, if they run into a team like the Hawks, Heat, or Sixers, then the Knicks must last more than 5 games. If the Knicks win a playoff series, I’m doing cartwheels outside of MSG. I’m expecting 42-45 wins.

It’s time to take the next step towards becoming a winning franchise once again.

Playoffs or bust.

What are your predictions for the Knicks? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.

2021-2022 NBA Season Predictions

Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets / NBA

In my best Daniel Craig voice, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re back.” The 2021-2022 NBA Season begins tonight when the Nets take on the Bucks and the Warriors face the Lakers. After an offseason full of vaccine questions, trade requests, and unhappy stars, I’m glad to put that all behind us and watch some good basketball.

Oh, wait. All of that stuff is still happening because the NBA continues to be dramatic!

Sigh.

Last week, I described all 30 teams in one sentence. This week, it’s time for my predictions.

Key Storylines

The Ben Simmons saga is on a highway to hell: Seriously, what the hell is going on in Philly?

Countless NBA players have demanded a trade, but have we ever seen a player deliberately sabotage a team? I typically favor player empowerment, but this is where I draw the line. I applaud the Sixers for fining and suspending Simmons because what he did was bullshit. However, Daryl Morey had a chance to trade Simmons for James Harden. There have been conflicting reports as to who, Morey or the Rockets, sunk the trade. I look at it this way: if Morey truly wanted to give up Simmons and trade for Harden, he could’ve pulled it off. That’s on Morey.

Now, it’s a waiting game. Morey has to realize that he won’t get a star in return for Simmons. That doesn’t mean a Simmons trade can’t happen. Would the Blazers be willing to part with McCollum? Would the Kings give up De’Aaron Fox (probably not) or Buddy Hield (probably yes)? Could the Spurs package multiple young players like Dejounte Murray and Keldon Johnson? Trade Simmons now or play hardball and wait. It’s time to shit or get off the pot.

Will Kyrie Irving Play: While the Sixers must make a decision on Simmons sooner rather than later, the Nets can show a little more patience in their approach due to the fact that the team can get by with Kevin Durant and James Harden. Whether or not you agree with the vaccine mandate in New York City is irrelevant. It’s the rule and it’s not changing anytime soon. It’s possible things change when a new mayor takes office, but are the Nets willing to wait until the end of winter/early spring to welcome back Irving? If the Nets are at the top of the East during Irving’s absence, then they’ll continue to wait until the mandate changes. If Durant or Harden get hurt and the team stumbles, then Sean Marks will have to consider trading Irving.

Will The Two Storylines Listed Above End So We Can Talk About The Other 28 NBA Teams: We need something else to discuss.

Eastern Conference

  1. Milwaukee Bucks
  2. Brooklyn Nets
  3. Atlanta Hawks
  4. Miami Heat
  5. Philadelphia 76ers
  6. Boston Celtics
  7. New York Knicks
  8. Chicago Bulls
  9. Indiana Pacers
  10. Charlotte Hornets

Eastern Conference Finals: Bucks over Nets

I would pick the Nets to win the East if the Big Three were guaranteed to play together in the playoffs. However, it’s far from a lock. I’m picking the Bucks over the Nets simply because I can’t trust Brooklyn’s Big Three to play every game. I will believe it when I see it.

Western Conference

  1. Utah Jazz
  2. Phoenix Suns
  3. Los Angeles Lakers
  4. Denver Nuggets
  5. Dallas Mavericks
  6. Portland Trail Blazers
  7. Los Angeles Clippers
  8. Golden State Warriors
  9. Memphis Grizzlies
  10. San Antonio Spurs

Western Conference Finals: Lakers over Jazz

I realize I’m a hypocrite for not trusting Brooklyn’s Big Three to stay healthy, but then believing LeBron and Anthony Davis will play every game in the NBA playoffs. LeBron only gets hurt via freak accident so as long as that doesn’t happen, he’ll play every game in the postseason. AD is a HUGE question mark, but if Frank Vogel load manages Davis throughout the season, there’s a chance he doesn’t get hurt come next Spring. It’s a huge “if,” but I’ll bet on that over Brooklyn finishing the season with their three stars.

NBA Finals: Lakers over Bucks

I truly believe LeBron has one more title in him. Year 19 is when he wins his fifth and final championship.

NBA Awards

MVP: Kevin Durant

Rookie of the Year: Cade Cunningham

Coach of the Year: Quin Snyder

Defensive Player of the Year: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Most Improved Player: Ja Morant

Sixth Man of the Year: Jordan Clarkson

Here’s to a successful (and healthy) NBA Season.

Leave your NBA predictions in the comments or tweet us, @danny_giro

2021-2022 NBA Season Preview: Describing Each Team In One Sentence

Luka Doncic NBA

The 2021-2022 NBA Season is set to kick off Tuesday, Oct. 19.

This is not a drill.

Within the last 12 months, the NBA finished two seasons, crowned two different champions, and will start its newest season next week. Ever since the pandemic started in March 2020, I’ve lost my sense of date and time. The picture of Jimmy Butler on the scorer’s table after Game 5 of the 2020 NBA Finals was going around on Twitter the other day. Had I not seen the date, I would have guessed the picture was from 2018.

Regardless, I’m happy to have basketball back especially after an exciting NBA Finals. The league is in a good spot thanks to so many young budding superstars. Giannis Antetokounmpo sits on the throne as the best player in the league, but Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and LeBron James could easily take back the crown by the end of the year.

In this exercise, I previewed each team in one sentence. Some are funny, others are brutally honest, and a few might hit home. Let’s dive right in.

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are the best duo under 25, but do they have enough surrounding talent to become a top-4 team in the East?

Brooklyn Nets: James Harden and Kevin Durant can win a title as a duo, but will Kyrie join them to form the trio?

New York Knicks: Was last year an anomaly, or have things changed at MSG?

Philadelphia 76ers: Is the Ben Simmons relationship salvageable?

Toronto Raptors: If you know the full truth behind the Pascal Siakim injury and his projected return date, I’m all ears.

Central Division

Chicago Bulls: I like Zach LaVine more than most people, and the team is good on paper (Lonzo Ball, Nikola Vučević, DeMar DeRozan), but the Bulls have a date with the play-in game whether they like it or not.

Cleveland Cavaliers: This roster does not make sense especially in the frontcourt, but they are going to be exciting to watch because of Sexland.

Detroit Pistons: Let Cade do whatever he wants.

Indiana Pacers: Myles Turner is somehow still on this team.

Milwaukee Bucks: If Giannis gets a mid-range jump shot, then the Bucks can repeat.

Southeast Division

Atlanta Hawks: After getting a taste of what it’s like to win big games, Trae Young and co. should be back in the mix for a top-4 seed in the East.

Charlotte Hornets: If LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward stay healthy, the Hornets should once again battle for a play-in spot.

Miami Heat: After getting embarrassed by the Bucks, the addition of Kyle Lowry means the Heat will try to channel their 2020 success.

Orlando Magic: This could be the worst team in the NBA.

Washington Wizards: The countdown to a Bradley Beal trade continues.

Western Conference

Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets: If Joker is the Joker and Michael Porter Jr. becomes a 20+ ppg scorer, the Nuggets are a healthy Jamal Murray away from truly becoming a contender in the West.

Minnesota Timberwolves: It might be time to pull the plug on the Karl-Anthony Towns-D’Angelo Russell pairing.

Oklahoma City Thunder: If the Thunder decide to try, then they could win 25 games, but that won’t happen.

Portland Trail Blazers: If the Blazers get bounced from the first round again, Dame is good as gone.

Utah Jazz: If the Jazz went 82-0, would anyone seriously believe they could win the title?

Pacific Division

Golden State Warriors: If Golden State can stay around .500 by the time Klay Thompson returns, the Warriors could be the dark horse to win the West.

Los Angeles Clippers: Until Kawhi returns, keep dreaming, LA.

Los Angeles Lakers: The Lakers are the best team in the NBA if and only if their stars are healthy and that’s a huge “if.”

Phoenix Suns: With the entire core returning, the Suns should battle for the top seed once again.

Southwest Division

Dallas Mavericks: Luka must win a playoff series this year if he truly wants to become “the guy.”

Houston Rockets: The Rockets could be the first team to score 100 points per game and give up 200 points per game.

Memphis Grizzlies: If the Grizzlies make the playoffs once again, we might have to change the trajectory on Ja’s ceiling.

New Orleans Pelicans: If the Pelicans are secretly trying to get rid of Zion, then they’re passing with flying colors.

San Antonio Spurs: With all due respect to Pop, is it time for a new voice?

How would you describe your favorite team? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.