Take 5: Gronk’s future is uncertain and Lakers should pass on Davis


Carlos Gonzalez | TNS

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski runs down the field after making a catch in Super Bowl LII Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Eagles won, 41-33.

By Staff

With the Super Bowl only days away, there are a lot of questions in the air about who will come out on top and where players will end up when things are all said and done. The Super Bowl also means football is coming to an end and it’s time to focus on other sports, like the NBA. While James Harden is talented, it isn’t likely he can carry the Rockets all the way to a championship. Anthony Davis wants a trade, but the Lakers should hold out a little bit before welcoming him to LA.

Harden’s Rockets doomed for failure

Houston Rockets guard James Harden had himself a historic January, averaging 43.6 points per game, the most since Wilt Chamberlain’s 45.8 in March 1963. But while his scoring is nothing to scoff at, it’s not a winning recipe. The Rockets posted just an 8-6 record, and Harden almost certainly won’t be enough to topple the two-time defending champion Warriors, which The Beard sunk with a ridiculous game-winning three to start the month.

Make no mistake — that should be the end goal, considering the Rockets came one game away from achieving that feat without star point guard Chris Paul.

The Warriors can do everything Harden can. They have three players — Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Klay Thompson — who can score like him on any given night. So even if Harden goes off, it’s no guarantee it will be enough to win, and if he has an off night you can probably chalk that up as a loss. Harden is a good passer, but he can’t stand up to another team full of them.

The Rockets should be developing a better strategy for a rematch. They need to move the ball better and stop wasting possessions with atrocious shots. They need to learn to do more than shoot threes in case, say, the team happens to miss 27 in a row and 37 of 44. The Warriors now have Demarcus Cousins and can outshoot any team from deep. But they likely won’t do any of these things and everyone will act surprised when Golden State is victorious again.

Harden is fun and exciting to watch, but the Rockets need more than just that to win, as evidenced by their January record. I know I won’t be surprised when the Warriors dominate the Rockets come May or very shocked if they get bumped a round early.

-Nick Carlisano

Gronk party bus now leaving New England?

Rob Gronkowski is a 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end currently playing for the Super Bowl-bound New England Patriots. He’s also widely recognized as the most dominant tight end in the league when he’s healthy.

As the NFL season comes to a close with the Super Bowl this Sunday, it’s worth wondering whether Gronk will return to the Patriots for another season. Sure, as I mentioned, Gronk is incredible when he’s healthy, but nowadays that’s a rare thing. He has grappled with continuous back injuries for the last few years, keeping him on the sideline for large amounts of time.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is also infamous for trading away big-name players, with the exception of Tom Brady. Belichick has sent away guys like Randy Moss, Adam Vinatieri and Ty Law, among many others. Considering his previous transactions, Belichick should have no problem parting ways with his star tight end. In fact, the Patriots were reportedly very close to reaching an agreement with the Detroit Lions last season before the deal fell apart.

It’s possible that Gronk may decide to walk away from football under his own power after this season. Because of his multiple injuries, he has been forced to undergo numerous surgeries, each no doubt costing a serious physical and mental toll.

After hinting at possibly retiring after last year’s Super Bowl loss, there’s no telling what Gronk may do next.

-Jack Clay

“The Greatest Show on Turf,” part 2

The Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots are set to battle it out in Super Bowl LIII this Sunday. This game is a rematch from Super Bowl XXXVI when the Patriots won the game 20-17 after Adam Vinatieri made a game-winning field goal. The 2002 Super Bowl was the start of an unstoppable Patriots dynasty and became Tom Brady’s first of five Super Bowl victories.

Super Bowl XXXVI pitted an up-and-coming New England Patriots team against a dominant St. Louis Rams team. The Patriots had a young quarterback, Brady, who was looking to prove himself on the biggest stage of them all. The Rams had an offense that was so good that it was dubbed “The Greatest Show on Turf.”

The team roles are reversed for Super Bowl LIII. The matchup now consists of the juggernaut of the NFL, the New England Patriots and the fresh and new Los Angeles Rams. The Patriots are the dominant force and the Rams are the team with something to prove to the world.

Both of these teams have elite offenses and can score at will. The vital difference between the teams comes on the defensive side of the ball. The Rams have the better defense and that will ultimately be the deciding factor for who wins. The Rams will win Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta by a score of 39-31, marking the end of the Patriots’ dynasty and the beginning of the Rams’. Super Bowl LIII will become the moment when “The Greatest Show on Turf” is reborn.

-Tyler Moran

Back off the brow

Word has gotten out recently about Anthony Davis’ wish to be traded out of New Orleans. The Pelicans superstar is currently in the midst of a career year, averaging 29.3 points, 13.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 2.6 blocks and 1.7 steals in 41 games.

The obvious destination seems to be the Lakers, as pairing Davis with the best player in the league, LeBron James, seems like a great idea. Although it would be cool to see two elite players team up, it would be smart of the Lakers to hold off.

The Lakers were 20-14 prior to James’ injury on Christmas Day, a game in which they decimated the Warriors in a statement road win, 127-101. The rumored return the Pelicans are looking for involves Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, among others. The Lakers are a very solid team when healthy. Although they may not be good enough to beat the Warriors, they should be looking at the bigger picture.

Instead of trading for Davis, the Lakers could hold onto the pieces they have and explore the free-agent market this summer. Among the top free agents are Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler — all of whom could individually propel the Lakers over the Warriors in the upcoming years.

-Michael Nitti

The forgotten four

With the Super Bowl around the corner, it’s time to reflect on the storied history of the final game of the NFL season. We all know the great successes the Steelers, 49ers, Cowboys and Patriots have had as organizations. As for the failures, no teams stick out more than the Bills, Falcons, Vikings and Titans. It’s easy to speak about the successes or failures with these teams because they have been to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, four teams have never been in the spot to hoist up the Lombardi Trophy or even choke on the biggest stage.

The teams I am talking about include the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Detroit Lions. The Jaguars and Lions are stuck at the in-between, with just enough talent to compete, but not enough to put them over the top. With the Browns and Texans, both teams have been stockpiling talented players before finally drafting a franchise quarterback.

Of the four teams, the couple that are primed to be the first of the forgotten four to make it to the Super Bowl are the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans. No disrespect to the Lions or the Jaguars, but it’s simple economics. With great talent on defense, both teams are lucky to have their quarterbacks on cheap rookie deals. The financial flexibility allows teams to add big-name free agents to fill leaky holes and field a complete roster that’s able to compete with the cream of the crop.

The key factor in whether or not the Browns or Texans make it first relies on the improvements of their respective quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Deshaun Watson.

-Sami Abu-Obaid