The NBA Coach of the Year is a Rockstar – and everyone finally knows it — Unbenched Sports

Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors as he wins the 2019-20 NBA Coach of the Year… The last time the Toronto Raptors had a head coach of the year, he got fired in a series of shocking changes in personnel. 2 years later, they have a championship and another coach of the year. This time, […]

The NBA Coach of the Year is a Rockstar – and everyone finally knows it — Unbenched Sports

The last time the Toronto Raptors had a head coach of the year, he got fired in a series of shocking changes in personnel. 2 years later, they have a championship and another coach of the year. This time, he is here to stay. Embed from Getty Imageshttps://embed.gettyimages.com/embed/1164573676?et=S6W6knFGTl53GmtW-JwFMA&tld=com&sig=6OSmlnrw6b0HTcenDtLW7wdrImNmM8PDAW6J9s-60-k=&caption=false&ver=2

Nick Nurse has quite a resume to his career that most people may not know about. After a successful run in his university experience, Nurse decided to take on coaching as a career. For 11 seasons, he coached in the European League. He made his way to the NBA through the G-League, where he had plenty of success, leading the Iowa Energy to the best record in the League as well as obtaining a championship with them, before going on to coach the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The next year, he won a championship with them too (as if he couldn’t be any more awesome). 

Nick Nurse Head Coach of the Iowa Energy is sprayed with champagne as…

Nick Nurse Head Coach of the Iowa Energy is sprayed with champagne as he celebrates their NBA Development League Championship after defeating the Rio Grande Valley Vipers…

He moved into the NBA in July of 2013, working as an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors, under Dwane Casey. Although he worked on offense, he became a staple for defense when he became the head coach in 2018.

Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors speaks to the media at a press conference…

 The media has a history of doubting the Raptors. When Kawhi Leonard left the team in the offseason to go home to the LA Clippers, many analysts didn’t even have the Raptors making the playoffs.

Raptors fans are used to being overlooked, and have learned to appreciate what they have. Nick Nurse is a perfect example of this. Initially, Nurse was among the finalists for the COTY award, along with Billy Donovan of the OKC Thunder and Mike Budenholzer of the Milwaukee Bucks before getting the proper recognition in the official vote. Many may have underestimated the Raptors and what Nick Nurse has done for the team. They have the second best record in the league this year, a record that is better than the LA Clippers and Kawhi. They are about to play in the second round after sweeping the Brooklyn Nets and are looking to reach their second championship.

The Toronto Raptors are championship contenders, and they have a powerful force at the wheel: Nick Nurse. Now that everyone knows, it’s time to defend the north.

LeBron James admits to wishing he could leave NBA bubble a few times — LeBron Wire

Mental health of the players in the NBA has become an even more consistent topic inside the bubble.

LeBron James admits to wishing he could leave NBA bubble a few times — LeBron Wire

The mental health of all the NBA players has become a hot button topic this week after Paul George spoke about his own struggles with anxiety and depression, as well as the Milwaukee Bucks-led walkout earlier in the week in reaction to the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In the immediate aftermath of the NBA work stoppage on Wednesday, there were reports that LeBron James was considering leaving. After closing out the Blazers on Saturday night, LeBron opened up about his mental state, saying it wasn’t the first time he thought “I’ve got to get the hell out of here.”

Lakers’ LeBron James on whether he was ready to leave bubble after Bucks refused to play: “I’ve had numerous nights & days thinking about leaving. I think everyone has, including you (media) guys. There’s not 1 person who hasn’t (thought), “I’ve got to get the hell out of here.’” pic.twitter.com/qKIZzlzRp1

— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 30, 2020

James has been more open over the past week in talking about his own struggles inside the bubble. He shared how much he misses his family on Instagram on Saturday, with he and the Lakers closing in on their second full month inside the NBA bubble.

The Lakers will have a few days more to rest as they wait to play the winner of the Rockets-Thunder series, which the Rockets now lead 3-2 heading into Monday’s Game 6.

Trade Rumor: Yankees Potentially in on Star Indians Pitcher — Empire Sports Media

The New York Yankees pursuit for pitching has gotten their wheels spinning on a top-notch starter. While the Yankees have been unable to acquire a starter so far, they still have some time to get this deal done. They’ve eyed guys like Lance Lynn, Kevin Gausman, Taijuan Walker, and Marco Gonzales. This time their attention […]

Trade Rumor: Yankees Potentially in on Star Indians Pitcher — Empire Sports Media

This time their attention shifts to Mike Clevinger, who is a 29-year-old hard-throwing righty from the Indians. He has been an elite starter since 2018 and the Yankees are looking for another money arm.

What Does This Deal Look Like?

The report from MLB insider Robert Murray says that the Yankees and Padres are in the talks as (according to Murray) “The initial asking price was believed to be four quality prospects”. While the deal would be a lot for the Yankees, Cashman might be willing to do so. Clevinger would warrant MLB ready talent, so maybe the use of Deivi Garcia against the Mets is a way to showcase him to Cleveland. This deal would involve a lot of key prospects, and it seems like the price is steep.

Yankees, Padres among teams that have talked to Indians about Mike Clevinger, according to sources. The initial asking price was believed to be four quality prospects.

— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) August 30, 2020

Mike Clevinger’s Value

Clevinger since 2018 ranks 15th in SIERA, 15th in xFIP, 13th in K-BB%, 8th in FIP, and 6th in ERA. He’s been a top-flight starter in Cleveland, and while his peripherals have looked poor this season, he’s going to be good. His 95+ MPH fastball and renown slider have made for a devastating combination. His hair is long but the list of teams who want to be a suitor for his trade is even longer. He’s an elite caliber pitcher and would fit nicely in the rotation:

  1. Gerrit Cole
  2. Mike Clevinger
  3. James Paxton
  4. Masahiro Tanaka
  5. Jordan Montgomery

In the postseason you’d probably see Tanaka in a game 3 and Paxton in game 4, but in these shortened postseasons this could be deadly.

Will Cash pay the steep price for an elite starter or will another team get him? The deadline’s been wonky, but only time will tell. 

Walker cruises through six shutout innings for win in his Blue Jays debut — Toronto Sun

BUFFALO — Soon enough, Taijuan Walker likely will ditch the aqua blue glove he brought with him from the Seattle Mariners. Read More

Walker cruises through six shutout innings for win in his Blue Jays debut — Toronto Sun

BUFFALO — Soon enough, Taijuan Walker likely will ditch the aqua blue glove he brought with him from the Seattle Mariners.

He’s a Toronto Blue Jay now and after six innings of stellar work in his debut with his new team, the big starting pitcher already feels right at home.

Walker cruises through six shutout innings for win in his Blue Jays debut

The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder made a strong first impression with his young and improving teammates, shutting out the Orioles and allowing just four hits on the way o a 5-0 Toronto win.

And more than that, Walker was a formidable figure on the Sahlen Field mound that will be his home for the remainder of the 2020 season.

“He’s a big man and he throws all his pitches for strikes,” Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said in his thumbs-up review. “There’s a presence there.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/q4lJqB7Ogo8?embed_config={%27relatedChannels%27:%20[],%27autonav%27:true}&autoplay=0&playsinline=1

The 92-pitch effort earned Walker the ‘W’ to improve to 3-2 as the Jays extended their winning streak to three games and moved to three games above .500 for the first time since May of 2018.

Though he lamented that his curveball was off, Walker was better than efficient in allowing three walks while striking out four. It didn’t hurt that his new teammates extended the welcome mat in the form of a nice early lead with a pair of runs in the first and three more in the fourth.

While pleased with being able to contribute in his first outing, Walker didn’t overthink the significance of making a strong first impression. He felt welcome when he showed up at the park here on Friday and figured the best way to fit in would be to deal from the mound.

“That’s just unwanted pressure It’s still baseball, still the same game. I just wanted to keep my same game plan and go out there and attack,” Walker said in a Zoom call afterwards. “I just wanted to come in here and pitch and keep the momentum going.”https://www.youtube.com/embed/ge6maZxFE-g?embed_config={%27relatedChannels%27:%20[],%27autonav%27:true}&autoplay=0&playsinline=1

The hope when general manager Ross Atkins acquired Walker was to add stability to the rotation and that the righty would continue to round into the form that made him a steady starter before missing most of 2018 and 2019 due to injury.

Over the half-dozen starts he’s expected to get, the Jays would gladly take much more of what Walker flashed on Saturday.

While still young, the 28-year-old used his injury downtime to recalibrate, with the hope that he could once again become a valued piece to a big-league rotation.

“It gave me a chance to step back from baseball,” Walker said prior to what was his 100th career start and led to the Jays first shutout win of 2020. “I’ve got a young son and I got to spend time with him and really reflect on how I want my career to go moving forward, what kind of player I want to be and what kind of person I want to be in the game.”

Walker didn’t completely abstain from baseball, however. He used the time to focus on some of the best arms in the game.

“I got to watch some of the best pitchers in Gerrit Cole and (Max) Scherzer and all those guys, watch how they attacked and how they went about their business on the mound,” Walker said. “I was able to learn a lot from them.”

The Jays didn’t acquire Walker to be MVP-calibre, like the two pitchers he referenced. But they certainly hope he’ll provide lengthy, efficient starts similar to what he displayed on a cool Buffalo Saturday night.

With the game well in hand and the emotional, week Walker had endured, there was no need to send him out for the seventh. But by not doing so, Montoyo extended his team’s dubious MLB record of not having a starting pitcher make it to the seventh inning to 63 games.

Walker was on board with ending his night when it did. Not only was he traded two days earlier, on Wednesday, Walker was influential in the Mariners postponing of a game in protest of racial injustice and early Friday his father and other relatives get wiped out by Hurricane Laura in Louisiana.

“With nine days off and everything that has unfolded the last nine days, I think it was smart going out there and getting the six innings in and feeling good out there,” said Walker, who received a rousing welcome when he returned to the dugout after the sixth.

CLOSER LOOK

It remains to be seen how much damage will result from the uncomfortable image of red-hot reliever Jordan Romano leaving the mound in the eighth inning on Friday due to an injured middle finger in his throwing hand.

The Markham, Ont. native underwent an MRI on Saturday and though the full extent of his injury is not known, the club placed him on the 10-day disabled list.

“When I went to the mound, his finger was numb,” Montoyo said. “He had no feel to it. He couldn’t grip the ball so we had to take him out.”

The grim news on Romano, which MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported could be a two-four week absence, was countered by the fact that injured closer Ken Giles (forearm) continues to progress. Montoyo said that Giles will throw a live batting practice session on Tuesday.

SEEN AND HEARD

An interesting development on the infield here prior to Jays batting practice on Saturday. In a lengthy defensive drill session, the first-base reps were handled by Rowdy Tellez and recently acquired Daniel Vogelbach. Over at third, it was Guerrero and Travis Shaw splitting the workload … Montoyo has hinted that Guerrero would be ready for third-base action on a “just in case” basis, but this felt like more … Also in the pre-game activity, Bo Bichette was spotted in the outfield doing some light running. The injured shortstop (knee sprain) isn’t rushing back to the lineup, but certainly seems on target for a mid September return … The Jays got some early run support for Walker with a two-run single from Vlad Guerrero Jr., a line drive rocket off the wall in left. The blast extended Guerrero’s consecutive games hitting streak to a career best 11 games … With Romano on the injury list, reliever Sean-Reid Foley was added prior to Saturday’s contest.

Tone of Raptors-Celtics matchup changes amid shooting unrest — Lowell Sun

Toronto and Boston have been two of the hottest teams in the playoffs, coming off first-round sweeps of Brooklyn and Philadelphia, respectively, in the first round.

Tone of Raptors-Celtics matchup changes amid shooting unrest — Lowell Sun

LeBron James, Anthony Davis dazzle as Lakers top Trail Blazers in first-round series — Daily News

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — It took three days longer to close the series than the Lakers expected, and for three-and-a-half quarters, the Trail Blazers kept hope alive that it would take more. But that very faint flame was extinguished by a cruising Anthony Davis, driving into a clear lane in transition on the other…

LeBron James, Anthony Davis dazzle as Lakers top Trail Blazers in first-round series — Daily News