All posts by andrewlinderman19

Student at West Virginia University President of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity Writer for Banter Sports Die Hard sports fan

The Perfect Match: Will John Wall & DeMarcus Cousins Ever Play Together in the NBA?

The NBA has experienced a trend of superstars pairing up since the 2010 offseason when LeBron announced that he’d be joining Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in South Beach. This happened in July, not long after NBA draft concluded, the same draft that saw future NBA stars and college teammates John Wall and DeMarcus cousins were selected number one and five respectively. This draft broke up a collegiate version of the traditional “super team”, sending two players who made up one of the most talented Kentucky basketball teams in years to opposite sides of the country.

Cousins (left) spent the majority of his career so far with the Sacramento Kings, who drafted him 5th overall in 2010. In the same draft, Wall (right) found himself being drafted first overall for the Washington Wizards, a team that he has propelled to a fourth seed in the 2017 playoffs.

Since 2010, both Wall and Cousins have fulfilled their potential, or very close to it, and have become legitimate stars and franchise players in the NBA. Wall has found his groove in the nation’s capitol for the Wizards, where he’s set to lead them to their third playoff appearance in four seasons. Wall has also made the eastern conference All-Star team each of the past four seasons, and has taken his game to another level in 2017.

DeMarcus Cousins was selected by the Sacramento Kings, going out west to begin his career. Cousins began to find his own, despite playing for a struggling Kings team that has failed to make the playoffs in each of the past 11 seasons. However, Cousins will no longer be a part of what has proven to be one of the most poorly-run franchises in the NBA, as he found himself being shipped to New Orleans for next to nothing just before this season’s trade deadline expired. Cousins has been in New Orleans for just almost two months, and has already faced some scrutiny saying that he’s worn out his welcome because the Pelicans haven’t moved up in the standings.

Cousins hasn’t exactly been a perfect fit since moving to New Orleans in a blockbuster trade deadline move this season.

Cousins’ deal doesn’t expire until the end of the 2018 season, but it’s never too early to speculate. Despite the pre-considered notion that it would take time for Pelicans star Anthony Davis to gel with Cousins in the front-court, today’s NBA fans are impatient and like to see immediate results. It’s not a long shot to say he will at least test free agency waters in 2018 once his contract expires. Due to Cousins’ history with John Wall, along with the fact that Wall is one of the only players around the league who can keep Cousins’ wild personality at bay, it is completely possible that Cousins takes his talents to Washington D.C. The only road block one could possibly see is the Wizards’ current center, Marcin Gortat, whose contract runs through the 2019 season. However, he’ll only be owed about $13 million (chump change for the ever-increasing salary cap), which wouldn’t be a difficult contract to move to make way for Cousins.

While this scenario is over a year away, it simply makes sense that Wall and Boogie would want to team up and compete for a title. After all, they have some unfinished business after falling in the Elite Eight of the 2010 NCAA Tournament. While a lot can change in the span of over a year, I’d still have to say that the odds of Cousins and Wall playing together are pretty high. If the “fire and ice” experiment in New Orleans works out next season, Cousins may want to resign with the Pelicans, but if Davis and Cousins end up showing bad chemistry, Boogie may very well want to look elsewhere. Washington looks like a team that is one piece away from being a legitimate title contender and Cousins may just be that missing piece.


Are the Mets Legitimate World Series Contenders?

The New York Mets’ nine-season drought of missing the postseason was snapped in 2015 when they made some big deadline moves to pair with their elite pitching staff with strong batting. This combination crowned the Mets National League Champions. After falling short in the 2015 season, the Mets set out to become World Champions in 2016, a goal the ultimately also failed, after losing in the NL Wild Card game to the San Francisco Giants. Now, the Mets set out to get back to the World Series, but are they serious contenders anymore?


By far the Mets’ biggest strength is their starting pitching that features five young pitchers all with Ace potential. Next up, they have a superstar in Yoenis Cespedes the middle of the lineup to lead their offense. Built around him are some veteran bats in Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce and Lucas Duda to help raise the apple in center field as many times as possible throughout the season. The infield defense is solid with Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker up the middle, and Jose Reyes manning the hot corner. They have an average bullpen, with the exception of All-Star closer Jeurys Familia, who will likely be serving a suspension for domestic violence of around 30 games to start the season.

Despite all of the Mets’ upsides they have many shortcomings that could keep them out of the World Series. Their catcher, Travis d’Arnaud, is a defensive liability, slashing a .247/.307/.323 and just 4 home runs in 75 games. He has also had trouble staying healthy, which is also an issue for the pitching staff. Last season, Zack Wheeler failed to come back from Tommy John surgery when his ETA for a return was Mid-July. Matt Harvey went down in early July for the season, and Steven Matz missed the last month-and-a-half of the season with an elbow injury that required off-season surgery. Jacob DeGrom missed all of September with an arm injury that he eventually decided to pitch through for most of the season. Noah Syndergaard is the only pitcher in their star-studded bullpen who was able to stay healthy all last season.


Going into the upcoming season, Zack Wheeler is still a huge question mark, and Matt Harvey has not looked as promising as he has looked in the past so far this spring. Matz has looked good in his first two spring starts so far, but no one knows if he can with withstand a full major league season, which he has failed to do in his first two big league seasons. DeGrom and Syndergaard have both looked very good and look to lead the staff throughout the season in 2017.

Another big question to be addressed for the Mets coaching staff is the log jam in the corner outfield positions. Cespedes, Bruce, Granderson and Michael Conforto are all very capable corner outfielders. Conforto is a promising young talent, and the other three are on expensive contracts, so definitive changes should be made. Lastly, the Mets’ only true defensive star, Juan Lagares, constantly struggles to hit right handed pitching, which could prove to be problematic down the stretch.


The Mets have some questions marks going into the season, but as long as their starting pitching and big bats stay healthy, they have a legitimate chance to play deep into October.