NBA Playoffs Players to Watch

It has been a very exciting first few days of the NBA Playoffs. Read below as we highlight some of the players with surprisingly impressive performances!

Gerald Green:

Signed by the Rockets back in late December, Green had a number of huge performances. He put up big numbers night in and night out. It wasn’t known what his role over the course of the whole season would be, but it did seem that his offensive ability would be showcased.

We flash ahead to the postseason now, and Green was unable to get it going in the first game against Minnesota. In 19 minutes off the bench, he shot just 2-5 from the floor and finished with 4 points and 7 rebounds, with a +/- of -7. In Game 2 however, he turned into an absolute star.

Green had it going on from the first second he hit the floor. Finishing with a net rating of +27 in this contest, Green put up 21 points in 7-17 shooting (5-12 from 3PT), and pulled down 12 rebounds (3 offensive). He also blocked a shot and played some of his best ball all season.

The Rockets will not lose games when they have Green putting up numbers like these.

Dwyane Wade:

Traded back home to Miami after spending the last year and a half between Chicago and Cleveland, all was normal for D-Wade again. He was back to wearing number 3, and he was in Wade County, where he was known and loved by fans for fourteen years.

It was not clear how big of a role he would have on this team at the time, a team loaded with guards, but it became clear pretty quickly it would be a significant one. When the playoffs begin and Dwyane Wade is playing for your team, you tend to be a lot better.

After a relatively quiet game one (11 pts, 4 rbs, 4 asts in 19 minutes off the bench) Wade emerged as star in game two. He played 26 minutes and posted 28 points in 11-16 shooting (6-8 FT), grabbed 7 rebounds, and dished out 3 assists.

Wade was showing us that he can still be an elite player, while at the same time, driving his team toward a victory. The 36-year-old is due for another big performance as the Heat hos the 76ers for game 3 tonight.

Terry Rozier:

It is no secret that one of Danny Ainge’s all-time favorite Celtics is Terry Rozier. Coming in to this season, this fascination was laughed at, and he was not seen as a key contributor to Boston’s success. Oh how it has all changed.

Due to all of the injuries the Celtics suffered, Rozier was thrust into a starting role for much of the stretch run, a role in which he thrived. He showed capability of being the leading scorer on the team and playing very solid on the defensive side of the ball.

When the playoffs begin, everything changes though as that is a completely different level of play. Not only has he outplayed seasoned veteran Eric Bledsoe, he has gotten into his head. Bledsoe acted as if he had never heard of Rozier in his last press conference.

Over the first two games against the Bucks, Rozier has averaged 23 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game, while playing 78 minutes. He has done all of this while not committing a single turnover. He is showing that he is worth a lot of money, and is without a doubt, a blue-chip talent.

Referred to by his peers now as “Scary Terry” Rozier is only beginning his quest to lead a great Celtics playoff run.

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Jordan Howard Back as Top Running Back for Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears have announced that Jordan Howard will be the feature back for the team next year. Read below as we analyze that decision!

What this exactly means:

Jordan Howard has only spent two years in the NFL, but he has already replaced an all-time great Bears running back, and has already recorded 2,435 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns over his first two years. Playing in a struggling offense a season ago, he had the game-winning rushing touchdown in overtime against the dominant Steelers last year.

This move means that he is going to carry the ball north of 250 times for the third consecutive season to start his career. He has shown capability to handle heavy offensive responsibility, as first year head coach Matt Nagy is clearly impressed by him to make this decision. Knowing that Tarik Cohen is also in that backfield, this is a vote of confidence.

Why it is good:

Howard replaced Matt Forte two years ago and has not looked back since taking over as the premiere back on this team. He has done a tremendous job of finding openings and being patient when taking his cuts. He just seems to, whenever you least expect it, bust out for a 100-yard performance.

Already having two extremely talented season as the feature back, Howard is used to having big playing time. He seems to have great chemistry with the team’s rising sophomore QB Mitchell Trubisky, which will only serve to help matters more. Matt Nagy believes in him as well, which is all Howard needs to hear before he goes out and does his thing.

Why it is bad:

Ever heard of Tarik Cohen? The Bears rookie last year had 2 rushing touchdowns and one receiving, with 700 rushing + receiving yards a season ago and had a few breakthrough performances. His punt return ability, something we will get to see for another year, also showed how explosive he is able to be.

As good as Jordan Howard is, he is not much of a receiving threat, a skill that many of today’s top backs have. Cohen will still get his share of opportunities, but because Howard can’t catch or run those routes as well, it will put more pressure on the receivers when he is in the game.

Cohen, as mentioned, gets the most raw end of the deal, due to his productive 2018 season, and now working behind not just the #1 back, but the team’s feature back.

How will the offense perform?

If Jordan Howard is able to work in his route running even a little bit, this will prove to be a brilliant move from Matt Nagy. He has shown tremendous ability to pick up extra yards in key situations, so being able to do that consistently, well, Chicago has a stud. This could be another year for Howard where he gets 275 or so carries and between 1200-1400 yards.

Tarik Cohen, whenever he comes in, will require a lot of attention. With the team adding Allen Robinson and Trey Burton, while hopefully finally getting a healthy Kevin White, the weapons will be endless. Imagine having to worry about the fastest man on the team coming out of the backfield while having to slow down a 1,000 yard receiver, while trying to get around one of the best blocking TE’s in the league.

The offense for the Bears is looking very good, and there is a lot to be hopeful about.

Stat Predictions:

Jordan Howard: 280 carries, 1,350 yards, 12 TD’s; 31 receptions, 275 yards, 1 TD
Tarik Cohen: 65 carries, 450 yards, 4 TD’s; 40 receptions, 400 yards, 2 TD’s

A good year is in store for the Bears. Follow VegasOdds for more stories like this one every Wednesday!

5 MLB Players With a Red Hot Start to the 2018 season

The season is only a few weeks in, but read below as we highlight some hot MLB starts that are flying under the radar.

Jose Pirela:

In his first full year as a starter for the Padres, the outfielder has not disappointed. Leading the MLB with 24 hits, he has gone unnoticed because of the struggling team he is playing for.

Pirela already has nine extra base hits through 17 games, and that only includes doubles and triples. Though players on his team have been consistently failing to get on base, he has managed to drive in 10 runs. He’s done a very admirable job to this point in the year.

While many now think of the Padres best player as Eric Hosmer, Pirela has done his part to show them how good he can be, as he looks to be a franchise cornerstone for a team who needs one.

Joe Mauer:

It wouldn’t come as a surprise to many if Joe Mauer was hitting over .400 if it was 2013 or 2014, but here we are in 2018 and he is still swinging a red hot bat. Every time he makes contact, it seems to just fall in for a base hit.

Mauer is hitting .412 through the first 10 games he has appeared in this year. Picking up 14 hits in 34 at bats, he has recorded 4 doubles while knocking in 6 runs. The team has been unfortunate to have so many games cancelled due to weather, but it has become a given that Mauer will record at least one hit every time he is in the lineup.

In his age 34 season, he is showing no signs of slowing down.

Jed Lowrie:

The infielder, who actually turns 34 today, has been swinging a hot-as-the-desert bat this season. Leading the A’s offense, Lowrie has a .348 average with 4 HR’s and 14 RBI’s. He has spent 5 of the past 6 seasons in Oakland, but this start without a doubt stands out among the rest.

He is showing that he can be a leader for a team that seems to be going through an ‘endless’ rebuild, constantly bringing in new players. He is providing some stability, in addition to help for the young power hitting duo of Matt’s, Chapman and Olson.

Lowrie’s start is just the beginning of what is to come for this team.

Adam Ottavino

Now in his seventh year as a reliever in Colorado, many fans have gotten used to Ottavino. He will be a decent reliever when he is given the chance to pitch.

This season, he has picked up 3 wins from the bullpen in his first nine appearances. He has finished out three games for them, and shown to be reliable. He has an ERA of 0.93, and 20 of the 29 outs he has recorded have come via the strikeout.

Every year, one or two middle-relievers get the chance to play in the All Star Game, and it seems this is Ottavino’s year.

Joey Lucchesi

You never know what you are going to get when you throw a rookie starting pitcher out there. But, with Joey Lucchesi, it seems you will get a steady arm for however many innings you need it, and a ton of strikeouts.

He has posted a 2-0 record with a 1.66 ERA through his first four MLB starts, spanning 21 and 2/3 innings. He has record 25 strikeouts so far. He is pitching for a team that is without a doubt, desperate to find some big arms as they try to finally start to limit runs and opposition opportunities.

This could not come at a better time as the 24-year-old rookie will throw his hat into the ring for NL Rookie of the Year, and may very well emerge as the future ace of the San Diego Padres.

Follow VegasOdds as we bring you the latest MLB news every Tuesday.

Satoshi Kodaira Takes Down the RBC Heritage For First Title

It was a great time to be Satoshi Kodaira. Read below to find out more about the Golfer who just won the RBC Heritage!

Who is Satoshi Kodaira?

Originally born in Tokyo, Japan, he turned pro back in 2010. Having competed in fourteen prior events, he had never tasted victory in any tournament or event that had been played in America. His odds of winning this event were at just 200/1 coming in, and he had to get through some big names in order to come out on top.

He has had a tremendous career playing on the Japan Tour, where he has won six different events since 2013, including twice this past fall. This was his very first time playing in RBC Heritage, and it only adds to the intrigue.

He entered RBC being ranked as the 46th best golfer in the world, and won some big-time prize money, going out with $1.206 million. It was a big time pay day for a player who appears to be seriously on the rise.

How’d he win RBC?

He entered the final day of play needing not only to play better than he ever had before, but for a number of his competitors to also slow down and struggle. He was six shots down at one point in a playoff with Si-Woo-Kim, and rallied to take him down in the third different playoff hole.

He rolled in a 25-foot birdie on the par-3 17th hole, before punching his fist in celebration. A lot of hard work went into this one for Kodaira, who prevailed and now has an invitation waiting for him to join the PGA Tour. The 28-year old isn’t going to be forgetting this one any time soon.

He said that this was a stage he had been dreaming about, and is going to eagerly accept the invitation to join the PGA Tour full time. It’s very exciting for him, without a doubt, to be playing for eight years and finally come out on top.

What’s next for Kodaira?

He will become a full-time player on the PGA Tour and look to replicate some of the success which he had on the green over these past few days. A few weeks off for him are definitely warranted, as he has only, as he mentioned, been able to dream of the situation he has now gotten himself into following his win.

A chance to join the Tour full-time should be no surprise to anybody that has known him throughout his career. All of the golfers he has taken down during his complete dominance in Japan will more than likely be congratulating him soon on taking such a large career step.

The next big event is the Valero Texas Open, which will be played from April 19-22.

Impressive takeaways from his winning of RBC

. Quite a few of the top competitors from the final results were all younger than him (Bryson DeChambeau and Si Woo Kim)
. He was able to hold off Ian Poulter, who entered with the best odds of winning and had won a title just two weeks earlier
. 45 players in the world ranked higher than he did coming in
. Start times were pushed up for the final day due to inclement weather, affecting preparation and pre-tee rituals
. Had the tournaments’ best round of the week at 63 on Friday
. He earns himself a nice three-week vacation and a nice chance to enjoy the weather in the Bahamas

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CM Punk Returns to UFC for a Huge Fight

CM Punk is making his return to UFC after a year and a half off to face Mike Jackson. Read below to find out more.

CM Punk’s Background

A longtime WWE wrestler, Punk decided to try his hand at MMA a few years ago. He is originally from Chicago, IL, where he he also fights. He took on Mickey Gall on September 10, 2016, serving as his introduction to the UFC world, quite different from what he previously knew.

The interesting thing about that being the date of the fight, was that he was already 37 years of age before ever even attempting this, making an interesting career move at such an old age. Well, clearly, he wanted to change it up and try something new, and Punk is ready to go back to work this coming June, as he, now 39 years of age, takes on 33-year old Mike Jackson.

Mike Jackson’s Background:

Originally from Houston, Texas, Jackson shares a nickname with Paul Pierce, being called “The Truth”. At 33 years of age, Jackson also lacks a background in fighting, as this will be just his second career bout. He’s a photographer as well as a videographer for Legacy FC. He dreamt for a very long time of making it to the UFC, from the first day he started training while attending classes at the University of Houston.

Jackson, like CM Punk, made his professional fighting debut against Mickey Gall, though his fight came eight months prior. Jackson has not had a fight in over 26 months, and that figure will end up at 28 months without a fight before he takes on Punk. It will be interesting to see how both of these fighters perform after such long layoffs.

Who should be favored?

Well, considering that both fighters have very little background in this sport, it’s a little tough to make a prediction on who will be coming out on top. But, somebody will ultimately walk away with victory. It’s relatively rare to see two fighters in their 30’s, each with only one fight under their belt, and albeit, that one fight being against the same person.

Mickey Gall is the common opponent for both of these guys, and he defeated both of them via submission in the opening round. In CM Punk’s case, he’s very used to being physical, so how wrestling background should come into play and give him a slight advantage.

Mike Jackson on the other hand, with his background in kickboxing, is a lot more nimble than his opponent. He may be able to move around the octagon and go in for more blows, and can do so from relatively far away.

This being said, it should be Jackson, six years younger than his opponent, and more of a ‘fighter’ than a ‘wrestler’, that has the edge when the fight does happen.

Relevance of the fight:

We’ve seen a number of times where somebody went from UFC to WWE, or vice versa. Seeing CM Punk, who has a huge following, try his hand at something new is something that many people can appreciate. He’s fighting for just the second time in his career, but this could be extremely important to his future.

Mike Jackson has trained his whole life to be in this moment, and 28 months since his last night, he will need to be prepared. It’s a feel good story to see a guy his age finally getting a good chance in the octagon.

Be sure to watch this fight on PPV, as Mike Jackson takes on CM Punk at UFC Chicago on June 9!

Andre Ingram King of the Final Week in National Basketball Association

Andre Ingram, with just 3 short days left in the NBA season, became the most captivating name in the NBA this season. Read below for more:

How he got to this point

A 32-year old who was originally born in Richmond, VA, Andre Ingram attended Highland Springs High School in Highland Springs, VA. As a senior, he lead his team to their first to the Group AAA title in 2002-03. Over the course of that season, he averaged 22.8 points per game, as well as 9.5 rebounds per game.

Ingram’s next step took him to American University, where he started all 31 games as a freshman, averaging 13.6 points per contest. Fast forward to the end of his career there, and he’s the fifth all-time leading scorer in school history, scoring 1,655 points. He was the leading scorer during all four of his years.

He was selected in the 7th round of the D League draft by the Utah Flash (now defunct), finishing his time there as the team’s all-time leading scorer with 2,098 points, and ranked 2nd in rebounds, 4th in assists, and 3rd in steals.

He spent parts of four seasons with the LA D-Fenders from 2012-16 before going to Perth to play for the Wildcats. He lasted two games before calling it quits. He played for the D-Fenders, as well as the South Bay Lakers over the past two years.

He went in to have an exit meeting with his coach. Little did he know that this would be a life-changing meeting. He found out in there, when he saw Rob Pelinka and Magic Johnson, he was going to get a shot in the NBA. 12 years after finishing his college career, here he was. Andre Ingram, Los Angeles Laker.

His time with the Lakers:

It didn’t take long for his Lakers teammates to grow fond of Ingram. He suited up to make his debut on Tuesday for a game against the league’s best team, the Houston Rockets. He checked in off the bench about 7 minutes into the game, and it was off.

Ingram would put on a show in the 29 minutes that he spent on the court that night. Whenever he caught the ball, he’d let a shot fly, and it would swish through the net. Shot after shot, the crowd was even chanting MVP during his trips to the free throw line.

As soon as he checked in to the game, he hit a three, got a 3-point play, then hit another jumper. Andre Ingram finished the game with 19 points (6-8 FG, 4-5 3PT, 3-3 FT), 3 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots. They lost by six, but this was a night to remember for Ingram.

In the team’s game against the Clippers last night, Ingram didn’t quite generate the amount of buzz that he did the night before, but the team produced while he was on the floor. Shooting just 2-9 from the floor, Ingram failed to score the ball much, finishing with just five points. He did a tremendous job though, of finding open teammates, going from one assist in his debut, to six.

The LA Lakers outscored their opponents, the LA Clippers, by 23 points with Ingram on the floor, giving him a net rating of +20 in his 64 minutes of action over two games.

What’s next?

Andre Ingram waits to see if the Lakers could consider bringing him back next season. The team already has a talent at the guard position and dealt with health issues at the end of the season. He thrilled Lakers fans one final time to close the 2017-18 season, and for that, we all owe him a big thank you.

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Khalil Mack – Hidden Gem of the National Football League

Khalil Mack has been one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL for the last few years. He’s seeking a big contract from the Raiders. Read below as we discuss whether or not he is deserving of it.

Background on Khalil Mack

Taken with the 5th pick in the 2014 draft by the Oakland Raiders out of Buffalo, Khalil Mack wasted no time going to work and letting the league know who he was. Starting all 16 games in his rookie season, he finished with 4 sacks and 59 tackles. He got his feet wet and flashed a lot of potential rather quickly.

Now playing for his fourth different coach in Jon Gruden, he isn’t in a position to have to prove himself as Gruden knows very well how talented he is. He impressed all of his previous coaches, in Dennis Allen, Tony Sparano, and Jack Del Rio, with his ability to quickly get to the quarterback. There aren’t many players in the league who can take a QB down better than Mack can.

Why Mack should be paid

He’s been a terror in opposing backfields, recording 40.5 sacks in four seasons, including 15 as a rookie. He was an integral part of the 2016 Raiders playoff appearance, which ended a very long drought for the franchise. Pair him with a player even decently talented in the pass rush, and he will be absolutely unstoppable.

If you take Mack off this team, it’s most likely that they end up struggling to get to the opposing QB, and they’d be bringing different players in without a clear top guy. He’s already a 3X Pro Bowler and 2X All Pro. In just his third year in the league, in 2016, he was voted as the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, an award that shows us just how talented and dynamic he is.

Why Mack shouldn’t be paid

Mack is going the Joey Bosa, Darrelle Revis, Vincent Jackson, hold-out route thus far in the early offseason. He will not take no for an answer when it comes to getting his money. He’s currently slated to make $13 million in the final year of his rookie-scale deal, which is quite the compensation for a player on their first contract.

He’s looking for more, as he wants to get paid Von Miller type of money. Miller got $70 million guaranteed in his last deal, while Mack wants $65 mil to be guaranteed. It’s a weird time to be asking for this contract and there is no reason to be away from the team. He should allow them to pay their rookies after the draft, and all other players they may be signing before training camp.

He’s already 27 years of age, having spent a long college career at Buffalo, and while he is 4-5 years from a possible decline, he certainly isn’t a young player anymore. They need to spend wisely.

What Oakland will decide

The Raiders paid big bucks to Jon Gruden for him to leave the broadcasting booth and return to the league as a head coach, after years and years of rumors. It’s up to him to speak with the front office and decide if he’s worth it. Ultimately, they will choose the yes route here and pay Mack what he wants before the year.

The value and versatility he brings to the team on the field is just too good for them to risk losing him. It’s production that is extremely hard to be replaced, and just shouldn’t have to. They will need to spend more wisely in other places for the years to come as a result of this deal, but it will prove worth it. Khalil is a BEAST!

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Shohei Ohtani Has Taken The MLB By Storm In 2018

Shohei Ohtani has taken the MLB by storm in 2018. Read below to find out just how he’s done this.

His offensive prowess

It all started for the Angels prized offseason acquisition when he got a single off of the very first pitch he saw in the majors. He’d go hitless for the remainder of his first game before starting to find a groove. He’s got 7 hits in 18 at-bats so far, including 3 home runs and 7 runs batted in. He isn’t going to be a regular in the lineup, but when he does play, he’s shown to be a fantastic complement to the likes of Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Zack Cozart.

The fact that he’s been able to shrug off his struggle of a rough spring training, tells us all we need to know about him as a player and professional. For the cheap price (only cheap in sports terms) of $545Km, the Angels are getting a dominant hitter in the lineup every few days. He’s showing that it doesn’t matter who he is facing, the dingers won’t stop for Ohtani.

His pitching prowess

Through two starts and 18 innings pitched, Shohei Ohtani is off to a fantastic start. He’s allowed just 4 hits and 3 runs while striking out 18 and walking two. The stat that immediately stands out: a 9-1 strikeout to walk ratio. Coming over to the home-run crazed MLB, he’s been able to consistently make players swing and miss. All three runs he has allowed came on a moonshot home run from Matt Chapman early in his debut.

In a starting rotation that struggles with health and dominance, Ohtani is a breath of the world’s freshest air. He’s been whizzing balls past every batter, and not allowing very many baserunners. After the early blip in the radar from the Chapman home run, he has been absolutely perfect. While he can only pitch every sixth day or so, every time he takes the mound, it will be with great confidence from the entire club.

How has he done it?

He’s done this by, well, for starters, coming in as an experiment that many doubted from the beginning and succeeding tremendously. Many around the league, writers, managers, didn’t believe in the guy who could both hit and pitch. That would end in high school, or early in college for most players coming through the American system. Not for Ohtani, who crushed it in Japan and is showing the MLB that he may be a revelation.

We’ve seen NL pitchers who can hit before with the likes of Micah Owings, Carlos Zambrano, and most recently Madison Bumgarner. However, while these guys can be used as a pinch hitter, they aren’t starting in the lineup solely just to be a bat. Managers love to get pitchers who rake, but for an AL team to have the luxury of a designated hitter who is also the team’s ace, it is unforeseen.

He’s done this by never changing his approach. Ohtani wanted to come to a small market, and while he is in LA, he’s with the smaller team there and it’s worked. He tuned out everybody who said he wouldn’t succeed and has, as Rihanna put it, “Shined bright like a Diamond”.

It’s been a very exciting ride while following Ohtani and the journey he has been on to re-define the norms of the MLB. It’s clear to see that he has got the potential to succeed as a part-time starting pitcher, as well as a part-time designated hitter.

Follow VegasOdds on Twitter as we post MLB articles every Tuesday. You can bet your chips that you’ll be seeing a lot more Ohtani stories as the year goes on!

Patrick Reed Takes Down Augusta National for 2018 Masters

The 2018 Masters has come to a close, and there was an unexpected winner. Read below to find out more!

Who is Patrick Reed?

A 27-year old from San Antonio Texas, Patrick Reed entered this year’s Masters having never won a major. This past Masters was the fifth he has competed in, and 17th major tournament he had been a part of. Well, he can no longer say that.

Reed was ranked as the 24th best player in the world coming in to the tournament, and will surely rank even higher when the next ranking comes out. He had never finished higher than 22nd at this very tournament, making this year all the more impressive.

What makes Reed winning the Masters so impressive?

Well, for starters, he had 50/1 odds coming in to come out on top and get the chance to wear the green jacket. Jordan Spieth, looked at as a favorite by many, had the best single day performance in Masters history, and that still wasn’t enough to catapult him to the top. He went toe to toe with Rory McIlroy as the event winded down and was able to best him.

Reed getting this victory makes him the ninth golfer to win his first career major, in the last ten held. He is a name that many casual fans have never heard, and even fewer expected to beat out the best in the world to come out as the victor of the Masters.

Where the competition fell short

Tiger Woods, showing that he has been revitalized of late, looked to be a prime candidate to win the 2018 Masters. At 42 years of age, he has been doing this a lot longer than most golfers in the world, but this time around he just didn’t have it.

Woods would finish this event tied for 32nd place, but it did mark the first time since the 2015 Masters that he made it through all four rounds. It was a great sign from him to show he can still last the duration of a colossal event like this one.

Jordan Spieth had a historic final day, finishing 8-under-par, but he had too much ground to make up in order for this to be enough to bring him to the top of the leaderboard. He had some unbelievable finishes at a number of holes, but Patrick Reed was able to best him.

Rickie Fowler, who had a fantastic overall 4-round effort, ended up as the runner up. He’s finished in the top-25 in five consecutive majors, a feat which is extremely impressive, but second place will not earn him the green jacket. He started slow on the final day, and as a result, he really just couldn’t get it done and come out on top.

What is next for Patrick Reed?

Now that he has won something as big as the Masters, he will have a lot more of a following checking in on how he does in future events. He can’t just disappear and turn into a one-time winner and then just shift to become average.

All golfers will have this week off, before the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, South Carolina begins on April 12. With a good few days to prepare for it, Reed should be ready and raring to go.

Follow VegasOdds for the latest happenings on the PGA Tour as we post every Monday!

List Narrows on Potential #1 Pick in 2018 NBA Draft

With the NBA Draft just a few months away and players declaring, let’s comb through some potential #1 picks and what makes each player worthy of being selected as #1.

DeAndre Ayton

  • He’s a big man that absolutely dominates inside the paint and you won’t slow him when he gets to his spot.
  • He’s a tremendous rim-protector, and in a league where many teams have opted to go small, his rim-protecting presence can be felt immensely.
  • He shot 73.3% from the foul line in his lone season at Arizona, and it’s a luxury to have a big man that can make free throws.
  • He’s fantastic in the pick and roll and can set up a lot of shots for teammates a la Steven Adams with setting good hard screens.

Marvin Bagley

  • He seems to be a once in a every 10 years or so type of big man, where he can absolutely dominate the game in many facets
  • He’s got the ability to not only dominate inside of the paint, but spread the floor and knock down the three as well. He could be the next Karl-Anthony Towns in the NBA
  • He’s as dominant a shot-blocker as a DeAndre Jordan or Hassan Whiteside type, something every team in the association could use on their team
  • He knows how to go straight up without fouling, averaging a shade under two fouls a night for Duke this past year

Luke Doncic

  • He’s not only a knockdown shooter but has the ability to find the open man wherever he may be.
  • His game has no real glaring weakness and his game should translate very well from Europe to the NBA.
  • His minutes have steadily increased from year to year, so he’s used to having to adapt to playing more in games.

Mo Bamba

  • Averaging around four blocks per game in his lone season at Texas, he showed to be as a good a shot blocker as any player could ever hope to be.
  • He dominates on the glass, something a lot of teams could really use in their system.
  • His length is something that we’re all marveling at and seeing him go through combine workouts will have teams drooling.
  • He’s got a decent jumper, and once he improves it, could be a better version of Myles Turner, who also came from Texas.

Jaren Jackson Jr.

  • Like a lot of the earlier players mentioned, he protects the rim extremely impressively and is a tremendous free throw shooter as well.
  • Being a 6-11 big man and able to knock down the three at a high clip is something that a lot of NBA teams want to have in their players, and Jackson Jr. thrives in that category.
  • He scored just eight points in two March Madness games, but a lot of players in the past, including Andrew Wiggins, who struggled in the tournament still went as high as #1.
  • Jackson could very well be the next Wiggins, stink up in March Madness but still be selected as the top pick.

Some other honorable mentions who could go at #1: Wendell Carter Jr., Michael Porter Jr., Mikal Bridges, and Kevin Knox. The draft class in 2018 will be very impressive and many teams will come out better than they were before.

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