Saturday’s Den: Shooting the breeze about a bunch of stuff……

— Brook Lopez plays for the Milwaukee Bucks; he is 35 years old, has been in the NBA for 16 years now. What makes him interesting is how he re-invented his skill set in the middle of his career.

In the first eight years of his career, the 7-foot tall Lopez stayed close to the basket- he was a combined 3 for 31 on 3-pointers.

I’ll repeat that: in years 1-8 of his career, he was 3-31 on the arc.

Then he decided to re-invent himself; since then, Lopez is 791-2,264 on the arc. This is truly remarkable, how an 8-year NBA veteran totally changed his game so he could stay in the NBA.

For his career, Lopez is averaging 16.3 ppg. Shooting is marketable; he is a 79.6% career shooter on the foul line, 34.6% on the arc, 53% inside the arc.

Lopez will earn $25M this year, $23M next year, which will put him over $221M in career earnings. He’s worked very hard to sharpen and increase his skill set. Good for him.

— Here’s a stat for you: NHL teams that have played consecutive nights on road:
6-5 the first night
3-8 the second night

— and another interesting stat: NBA road teams who played the night before are 2-8 ATS:
2-3 if they played on the road the previous night
0-5 if they played at home the previous night

— best NFL teams in the red zone:
5.50 points/drive- Ravens (34 drives)
5.46- Chargers (24 drives)
5.43- Rams (only 21 drives)
5.34- Bills (32 drives)
5.23- Bears (only 22 drives)

— worst NFL teams in the red zone:
2.81- Giants (gave up a TD on defense and a blocked FG TD)
3.78- Vikings (23 drives)
3.95- Jets (only 19 drives)
4.09- Titans (23 drives)
4.15- Jaguars (only 20 drives)

— most TD plays of 20+ yards:
13- Dolphins
10- Lions
8- Vikings, Jaguars
7- Colts
6- Eagles, Bears
5- Commanders

— fewest TD plays of 20+ yards:
0- Ravens, Falcons
1- Panthers, Bengals, Raiders, Giants, Seahawks
2- Browns, Packers, Patriots

— Word of the Day: gimmick— a trick or device intended to attract attention, business and/or publicity.

The NBA’s in-season tournament is most definitely a gimmick.

— Place I usually go to for lunch was closed Friday; they had fire in the kitchen or something like that, so I went somewhere else, a place I used to go to a lot 20 years ago, when I lived near there.

Walk in, and the waitress is arguing with a guy who was eating chicken wings with peanut butter on them. Turns out the guy also works there, but it was funny listening to them argue. She was actually yelling at him; it did look a little gross, but he said he liked it.

There was Harry Chapin music playing when I walked in, a pleasant surprise.

I passed on the chicken wings/peanut butter combo- not my thing.

— Sounds like Deshaun Watson will start at QB for Cleveland Sunday, while rookie Clayton Tune gets his first NFL start for the Cardinals. 

Can’t remember an NFL season with this many unsettled QB situations; teams are playing young QB’s before they’re ready; several other QB’s have gotten hurt. Very difficult year for picking games; they’re all tough, but this season teams seem to be a lot more fragile than usual.

— Dodgers P Clayton Kershaw had shoulder surgery this week, hopes to pitch at some point in 2024, but he is a free agent. Will teams wait until next summer to pursue him? Kershaw is 35 years old; he signed one-year contracts the last two years.

— College basketball starts Monday; how will Purdue bounce back from being only the second #1-seed to lose a first round NCAA Tournament game?

In 2018, Virginia was 31-2, a #1-seed when they got upset 74-54 by UMBC in the first round; not only were they the first #1 seed to lose, they lost by 20. It was stunning, but the Cavaliers came back the next season and won the national title, also as a #1-seed.

Purdue big man Zach Edey is surprisingly still in college, so the Boilermakers should be really good again this year. Maybe this time, his teammates will give him the ball in March.

— From 2018-22, Sean Lewis was the football coach at Kent State; he inherited a 2-10 team, went 2-10 his first season, but then the next four years, he went 22-21— he did a really good job there, making the Golden Flashes competitive.

This season, Lewis resigned at Kent State to become the offensive coordinator at Colorado, an odd decision, but he probably makes a lot more $$$ now. 

Colorado was 1-11 last year, averaging 15.4 points/game; they made a splash in the off-season and hired Deion Sanders as head coach— he had been at I-AA Jackson State. Sanders hired Lewis as his OC, to mentor the Buffs’ quarterback, Sanders’ son Shedeur.

This season, Colorado is 4-4, scoring 32.1 ppg. They’ve lost four of their last five games, but Rome wasn’t built in a day; they’re vastly improved over last year.

Then word comes out this week that Colorado basically demoted Lewis, promoting former NFL head coach Pat Shurmur to co-offensive coordinator— he will work with the offensive line, and presumably, Colorado will run the ball more now. 

The previous OL coach came to Colorado from Kent State with Lewis. It’ll be interesting to see next month, when the regular season ends, if coach Lewis goes back to being a head coach, since his work at Colorado doesn’t seem to be appreciated very much. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.