The Manny Machado-to-the-Phillies rumors heated up this week with the Phils playing Baltimore.
“They’re a good team over there,” Machado said of the Phillies (via NBC Sports). “I know they’re playing great baseball and we have to play better than them this week.”
Machado has many ties to the Phillies organization as Andy MacPhail, Matt Klentak and Ned Rice all worked for the Orioles. Phillies scouting director Joe Jordan was directly responsible for the O’s drafting Machado and the two still maintain a relationship.
“It’s pretty awesome because that’s the guy who drafted me out of high school and those are things that you never forget,” Machado said of Jordan (via NBC Sports).
Machado, who will be a free agent later this year, also played with current Phils Jake Arrieta and Tommy Hunter in the past.
Coaching finally matters
The NBA has always had the reputation of being a player’s league, and if you have the best player – you magically become a smart coach. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra quickly went from “in over his head” to one of the NBA’s sharp young minds by winning titles with LeBron.
Truth be told, however, the jury should still be out Spoelstra.
Much more impressive are the jobs Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni and Celtics coach Brad Stevens have done in recent years.
Mark Jackson’s Warriors were bounced in the first round of the playoffs in 2014. The very next year with a very similar team, Kerr and the Dubs won the title. Since then, they’ve become the most impressive NBA dynasty since the Michael Jordan Bulls.
D’Antoni and Stevens have not yet won titles, but both have been shining this postseason. D’Antoni quickly made James Harden into an MVP candidate, and despite the Rockets’ loss to the Warriors in Game 1 of the West Finals Monday – D’Antoni made his presence felt.
On the offensive end the Rockets attacked defensive liability Stephen Curry and it worked, very well. Harden finished with 41 points, most of which came at Curry’s expense. Fellow guard Chris Paul had 23, and a third guard – Eric Gordon – had 15 off the bench.
And Stevens has been downright brilliant this postseason. He too has exploited defensive challenged players this postseason, as the Celtics ruthlessly went after JJ Redick in Round 2. In Game 1 against Cleveland, the Celtics defense held LeBron James to 15 points by switching screens and switching assignments when the ball got down low.