The Evster's NBA Playoff Preview

The Evster's NBA Playoff Preview

This is not an NBA Playoff preview. I don't know why I called it that. I guess I figured no one would click on a link titled "Some Things The Evster Felt Like Talking About This Week on a Blog That Actually Pays Him to Write Stuff." But then again, it's not like you think you're about to get legit NBA analysis here. You know what you're getting into. This post is written by the same person who predicted this guy would win Defensive Player of the Year:

I still believe in you, Wendell!

Regardless if you're an NBA junkie or an actual junkie, this year's NBA playoffs have enough juice to get any fan's blood flowin'. I don't even know what that means, "juice," no one has used that word since 1992. What I was trying to say is that there are a bunch of players and a couple of storylines that I am so, so, so excited to follow. And below are some of the ones I'm most looking forward to seeing.

So read away, get pumped for the playoffs, and if anyone wants to do drugs while watching the games this weekend, please contact me at BigDInYoFace@The700Level.com.

BEST EARLY ROUND MATCHUP -- Clips vs. Dubbs

WELCOME TO BONERVILLE. I can't ever remember another first round series that featured such a bonkers matchup. Although to be honest, the Clippers could be playing against the St. Louis Slingdongs and it would still be entertaining. But luckily for us, they're playing the Warriors, who have essentially been on an 82-game heat check. With the Splash Bros., Andre Iguaodladlalldaala and Mr. HAND DOWN MAN DOWN himself going against Lob City, there is a very good chance that I will make soft, missionary-style love to my TV this Saturday.

At some point during this series, I fully expect Jamal Crawford and Steph Curry to launch 35-foot bombs while I bite down on every pillow I own. I seriously might wear a dog collar while watching. DeAndre Jordan can dunk with his FACE. Matt Barnes will kill you. I haven't even mentioned the best pg in the game or Blake Griffy McGrifflestein!!!  Just because I can -- and to show you how excited I'm getting -- I will now type one last series of exclamation points using only my dork.

Ready?

!Q!!!#!~!##!!!@!W!!!!!!@W!!!!!Q!!!!!!!!!

Edit THAT, Enrico!

FAVORITE DUDE WHO PLAYS 16.5 MINUTES PER GAME -- Nick "Wiz" Calathes

I didn't know that was his nickname either!

Also that painting kinda looks like Jerryd Bayless.

Also who paints a picture of Nick Calathes/Jerryd Bayless?!?!

No player in the league has had a bigger impact this year than Wizzy C (not his nickname, also not a true statement). But whatever, after spending the last four years playing in Greece and Russia, Pat's little bro has found an NBA home as the Grizzlies backup point guard. He's not necessarily that good, and he hasn't really done anything that warrants him being included in this article, but there's something about Nicky C that makes you really pull for him. Maybe it's the fact that he's embraced his male pattern baldness in a way that only Clyde Drex and Manu Ginobes have done in the past. To see Wiz scurrying around, making post entries, and kicking it out for wide open threes whilst rocking a legitimate bald spot is an inspiration to all, receding white men. I just wish he would also embrace his shoulder hair. And let it just sprout. Forget about Jason Collins coming out, the NBA needs a guy to embrace shoulder strays. I'm lookin' at you, Nick Collison. I'm lookin' at you!

WATCH THIS JAWN NOW -- New Damian Lillard Adidas/Foot Locker Commercial

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/vnaZBRumpg4 width=620 height=349]

No big deal, just the $100 million Adidas deal for Damian this week.

#JUSTTHEHUNDO

OMG WHAT WILL THIS DUDE DO NEXT -- Lance Stephenson

Lance Stephenson is by far my wife's favorite basketball player. A total loose cannon, this guy could go berzerker at any given mome. For example, one half he could be on pace for a triple dubb, and the next he could eat a guy's shoe. I love him, too. Love his okie doke handle. Love when he palms the ball in the half court set. Love this pic of him celebrating in high school.

Ayyyyyyyyyyy!

This is awesome too:

HEY GUYS, GLAD YOU COULD MAKE IT. TAKE OFF YOUR COAT AND STAY AWHILE. CARE FOR SOME CHEESE? I RECOMMEND THE BOUCHERON. IT'S QUITE LOVELY -- John Wall, Kyle Lowry and Kemba THE NOT WHITE Walker

Look, the West may have most of the talent, but these three Eastern Conference point guards are easily the most electric. (I mean, besides Russell Westbreezy. Obviously besides Russell Westbreezy. It would be silly to write an NBA article and not call Russell Westbreezy the most electric point guard to ever play the game. He plays so ANGRY. And Chris Paul, too, but whatever. That's a given. And I already mentioned Steph. Okay, so they're like the 4th through 6th most electric point guards. Maybe 7th if you wanna include Shabazz Napier. And there's Rondo and Derrick Rose too, but, let's just move on. Let's just move on.)

Do you know who had the most total assists in the league this year? John Wall. (Ricky Roobs was second by the way, which I found fascinating.) Kyle Lowry ain't scare o' NOBODY. And Kemba Walker is the best professional basketball player who you have never seen play an actual professional basketball game.

TV SHOW YOU NEED TO WATCH – The Starters on NBATV

If you’re not watching The Starters every single day you are living a goddamn lie. The show is essentially this: four idiots sitting around in flannel shirts breaking down every angle of the NBA. But they’re not just idiots, they’re really knowledgeable and passionate idiots. Daily features on the show include: Wedgies (highlights of the ball getting wedged under the rim and against the backboard), Leigh Ellis’s Very Solid Play of the Night (normally consisting of a dude playing nice help defense or making a very solid bounce pass) and the Kobe Bryant Twitter Watch (he’s still not following Kendall Marshall). I love these guys so much and desperately want to be Twitter friends with them/shampoo their hair/go grocery shopping with them.

BIG THREE, SCHMIGG SCHMEE. THE HEAT BENCH IS WHERE IT'S AT: B-Eazy, Birdman and Oden

Look, we all love LeBron. And when D-Wade actually plays basketball, he's incredible too. And I even kinda sorta almost like Chris Bosh (no I don't). But the most fascinating players on the Heat roster are the dudes who hardly get any burn: Chris Andersen, Michael Beasley and omg you know who I'm talking about I just wrote their names in the header for goodness sakes.

When Birdman is on the court, he is impossible to ignore. IMPOSSIBLE. LeBron could be going coast to coast for one of his patented Chinese locomotive dunks (not a thing), but if Birdman's in the game, forget about it. IMPOSSIBLE TO IGNORE. I went to see the Sixers play the Nuggets a few years ago when Birdman was on Denver... didn't see one play the entire game. I just locked in on Birdman. Whatever he did, wherever he went, my eyes followed. Setting screens. Sitting on the bench. Staring at chicks while he was supposed to pay attention in the huddle. Seriously, there was one timeout where George Karl was drawing up a play and Birdman locked eyes HARD with a Sixers Dance Team lady. I think he was looking at that redhead. I love that redhead. How does she not have any moles?

Michael Beasley is just a weirdo. A super skilled, versatile, weirdo. But at some point during these playoffs, B-Eazy is gonna go off. He's too talented not to. He might go off the rails. But he's gonna go off. Every playoffs, someone comes out of the blue and just goes off. I'm not sure Michael's even aware that the playoffs are starting.

Poor Greg Oden. It's just sad. But it's nice to at least see him getting out of the house for once. He has the weirdest head. Honestly, what is going on with his head? I can't believe we have seen both his and Paul George's dorks.

NSFW BY THE WAY.

PREDICTIONS

East: Round 1 -- Pacers over Hawks (obvs); Heat over Bobcats (double obvs); Raptors over Nets (Terrence Ross!); Bulls over Wiz (not yet John Wally!) ... Conference Semis -- Pacers over Bulls (not one upset picked yet!); Heat over Raptors (sweeeeeeeep) ... Conference Finals -- Heat over Pacers (WHY ARE PEOPLE SLEEPIN ON BRON BRON)

West: Round 1 -- Spurs over Mavs (RIP Dirk); Thunder over Grizz (awesome series though); Clips over Warriors (no Bogut, no dubbs); Blazers over Rockets (Dwight and the Beard are SOFT) ... Conference Semis -- Spurs over Blazers (is anyone actually reading this part?); Clippers over Thunder (I'm not sure if I actually believe that!) ... Conference Finals -- Spurs over Clips (Can you believe Kawhi Leonard still has cornrows?!??!?!)

Finals -- Heat over Spurs (in 7!) I'LL BELIEVE SOMEONE BEATING LEBRON WHEN I SEES IT.

Enjoy the games everybody!

Basketballlllll!!!!!!!!!!

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/_shxzlTRK44 width=620 height=465]

Honestly that's the most amazing/corniest video EVER.

Follow The Evster @TVMWW.

Carson Wentz back at practice, frustrated he’s out for Eagles Thursday night

Carson Wentz back at practice, frustrated he’s out for Eagles Thursday night

Carson Wentz was on the fields at the NovaCare Complex wearing a helmet and ready to practice on Monday for the first time since fracturing his ribs on Aug. 11 against the Bucs.

He’s getting better. Just not quickly enough.

Despite being back at practice Monday afternoon, Wentz will not play in the Eagles’ preseason finale against the Jets on Thursday night. The original hope was that the No. 2 overall pick would be ready for the fourth preseason game.

“That’s a no-go for this week, but I’ll be ready for Week 1,” Wentz said.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said a CT scan on Wentz’s ribs showed one was completely healed, while the other was just 60 percent healed (see story).

Wentz said he expects to be fully healed by Sept. 11, when the Eagles open the season against the Cleveland Browns. But by then, he will have missed three of his four opportunities to play in the preseason. And, as the third-stringer, he won’t even be active on game days.

“It’s tough,” Wentz said. “With all injuries, it’s tough not being on the field, especially as a competitor coming in here, these preseason games were going to be big for me. It’s tough, it’s frustrating, but it just kind of is what it is.”

In his only game this preseason, Wentz went 12 for 24 for 89 yards and an interception. He also ran three times for 15 yards. During that game, he showed flashes of why the Eagles were so high on him, but it was just a taste.

After Thursday night, he will have spent the rest of the preseason as a spectator during games, taking mental reps instead of real ones.

Mental reps help, certainly. Wentz stands on the sideline and mentally inserts himself into the play. What would he do here? What would his read be there? What would he do with a certain protection?

“You’re really just trying to be locked in like you were the guy in the game,” he said.

Mental reps are great. But they don’t replace the real ones. Nothing does.

So while Wentz has been working to get better since going down with the ribs injury earlier this month, he’s lost valuable practice and game reps that he won’t get back. Pederson said once the season starts, the team can’t help him make them up because it will be too focused on getting the starters ready to play.

“You have to make the most of every opportunity you have in practice,” Wentz said. “I feel confident with where I am. Obviously, I missed the couple preseason games. I know when my number gets called, I’ll be ready.”

Pederson on Monday said he was less concerned about Wentz because Wentz is the third-string quarterback behind Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel. That was the plan before Wentz’s injury. Then the injury cemented that plan.

Does Wentz have any hope that he’ll play during his rookie season?

“I’ll be ready to go,” he said. “It’s not up for me to decide. We’ve been talking about this forever now. I know I’ll be ready to go and I’m excited for when I’m back out there. Practicing today, I’m excited for that too.”

Tonight's lineup: Has the Ryan Howard showcase come to an end?

Tonight's lineup: Has the Ryan Howard showcase come to an end?

Showcase time for Ryan Howard has apparently come to an end.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin will go with Tommy Joseph rather than Howard at first base for Monday's series opener against Nationals right-hander Tanner Roark. It's an interesting decision because it likely means Howard will sit until at least the weekend. On Tuesday, the Phils face Max Scherzer, against whom Howard is 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts. On Wednesday, they draw lefty Gio Gonzalez.

Howard is 1 for 10 with four strikeouts in his last three games. He was hot after the All-Star break but the Phillies were still unlikely to be able to find a suitor for him because of the scarcity of American League teams in need of a DH. With just three days before Sept. 1, it seems extremely unlikely Howard will be moved. A player is not postseason eligible unless he's on a team's roster by Aug. 31. Thus, Joseph should get more playing time in September.

Jimmy Paredes gets another start in left field after striking the ball well three times on Sunday. Paredes has been productive lately, going 10 for 27 (.370) with two doubles and two homers in his last 14 games. He could be designated for assignment by the Phils soon if they need to clear a spot to add a prospect to the 40-man roster for a September call-up.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B (.895 OPS in last 230 PA)
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Jimmy Paredes, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, LF
9. Jake Thompson

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres will join Colin Kaepernick, won't stand for national anthem

Eagles LB Myke Tavarres will join Colin Kaepernick, won't stand for national anthem

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines last week when he refused to stand for the national anthem during a preseason game, and an Eagles linebacker fighting for a roster spot says he'll do the same in their final preseason contest.

Kaepernick decided not to stand because of the divisive and violent racial issues that have been building in America. Tavarres has taken a similar stance, telling ESPN.com's Tim McManus on Monday that he nearly followed Kaepernick's lead by sitting out the anthem in Indianapolis.

"Oh, I thought about it. Believe me, I definitely thought about it," Tavarres told ESPN. "And usually I'm front and center on the line with the rest of the guys, and that's since pre-K all the way up. Saturday's game, I stepped back, I was in the background, and it didn't feel right to me at all, and so I will be taking a stand — or sitting down — for the fourth game.

"We've got an issue in this country in this day and age, and I feel like somebody needs to step up and we all need to step up. We've got that right. There's just a lot going on that people don't want to talk about, and I feel like us as athletes, we're looked at as role models. And I feel like with Colin Kaepernick, he's doing a great job for standing up in what he believes in, and most people may not like that, but that's his opinion, he's entitled to it, and I respect him for doing it."

According to the report, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz had players express their feelings about the topic during a meeting Monday and Tavarres was one of the players who spoke, along with team leader Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Leodis McKelvin.

Jenkins discussed the topic with USA Today over the weekend.

"At some point, I think guys in multiple sports across the country, guys are starting to realize if we do want a change, it is something we need to get involved in at some point," Jenkins said.

“I have already done some things. I have spoken to the police commissioner of Philadelphia. We are trying to come up with some plans to do some stuff on the ground and get some work done. A lot of what is going on in the country is outrageous. I try to be careful. I ask myself what is the outcome that I want to see and how do I go about that?

"At the end of the day when it comes down to relationships of African Americans in this country right now, my entire family is black. I can sit on my stage and act like these things don’t apply to me but my two brothers, my dad, my mom, all of them are dealing with the same thing."

Tavarres, meanwhile, is not a lock to make the Eagles' final 53-man roster, but their lack of depth at backup linebacker has created an opportunity for him. Dave Zangaro had Tavarres on the practice squad in his roster projection Monday. 

"In this situation, I've really got nothing to lose," Tavarres told McManus. "I'm a rookie free agent, haven't signed any major contract, so there's not a lot of money on the line, I don't have any big endorsement deals on the line. Really what's at stake is my pride and what kind of man would I be and what kind of African-American would I be if I didn't stand my ground on this issue we have today?

"[It] needs to be done. Will there be backlash? Probably. I don't think anyone has bought my jersey yet, so I don't know if it's going to be burned, but it's a major issue and I'm definitely going to stand my ground for this one."