ng Arizonas All-Pro cornerback Patrick Pin Allgemein 10.01.2019 12:43
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If you think of what the NBA was before Kevin Garnett arrived, its easy to certify the Big Ticket as the most influential player of his generation.It starts, of course, with him leading the new wave of preps-to-pros players in 1995 when he became the first high school player in 20 years to enter the draft. Kobe Bryant and Jermaine ONeal followed the next year, and the trend was quickly established. Every subsequent draft had at least one high school player taken in the first round until the NBA put a stop to the practice in 2005.By then, Garnett had already extended his influence in other ways, most notably when the league came to a halt in 1998 in the first missed games for a work stoppage in NBA history. That lockout marked the culmination of the owners extreme reaction to his $126 million contract with the Timberwolves. Fearful of signing players to deals that exceeded the value of their franchises, the owners held the line in negotiations until they added maximum player salaries to the collective bargaining agreement.That salary ceiling held the line at the top end, but it also paved the way for the formation of superteams in the free-agency era. With the disparity reduced between what the home team and suitors could offer, it both reduced the financial incentive for Garnett to stay with the team that drafted him and enhanced teams salary cap wherewithal to add superstars (since an already-present superstar would occupy a smaller portion of the cap).Then, of course, Garnetts willingness to leave Minnesota and join the Boston Celtics was the start of the modern arms race in the NBA. Having two players in their prime and on their way to the Hall of Fame was no longer enough. Now it had to be three.And it wasnt just that Garnett moved -- its that he went to the Eastern Conference. Would LeBron James have felt the need to leave Cleveland in 2010 if the Celtics of Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen had not defeated the Cavaliers in the playoffs twice in three years?Maybe LeBron would have come closer to a championship -- or won it all -- on his own and would have never felt the need to leave in the first place.The stretch from 2007 to 2010 might not have been the best of Garnett -- Id nominate his 2003-04 MVP season in Minnesota -- but it represented his greatest impact. It wasnt felt only in Boston, where he helped restore the franchise to glory. It was felt around the league. The preps-to-pros path that he cleared was echoed at the highest levels of hoops. Three straight Finals matchups featured high school players on both sides of the marquee: Garnett and Kobe Bryant, plus Dwight Howard. Of course, that was bookended by LeBron James in 2007 and from 2011 to the present.The owners and front-office executives didnt want the risk and unpredictability of drafting high school players. Thats why they eliminated the opportunity, with the players unions compliance. It wasnt Garnetts fault that not every teenager could match his standards.But Garnett should get credit that Kobe and LeBron were able to surpass him. Maybe they would have entered the league after high school regardless (Kobe insists hed already made up his mind before KG). Garnetts success removed doubt that they were making the right move.Both the Lakers and Cavaliers were better off for adding them as soon as they had their high school diplomas in hand.Garnett altered a decade of drafts. He changed the salary structure. 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One team is hoping to prevent a second-half slide like the one that derailed its season a year ago.The other is just trying to keep its head above water, knowing that one more loss could effectively end any chance it has left of making the playoffs for a third straight year.That and more are on the line Sunday at the Georgia Dome when the Arizona Cardinals (4-5-1) visit the Atlanta Falcons (6-4) in a pivotal NFC battle.This marks the seventh time in the past 11 years that the teams met, with each splitting the previous six meetings.Its a chance for the Falcons to extend their slim lead in the NFC South over the Buccaneers, Saints and Panthers. Its a chance for the Cardinals to possibly salvage their season -- at least for another week.Asked if his team had a sense of urgency, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, who had to spend a night in the hospital because of chest pains following his teams latest loss -- a 26-20 defeat at Minnesota -- just scowled.Oh yeah, he said. If you dont have one right now you dont belong in the business, and you damn sure dont belong in this locker room.The Cardinals have been searching for answers all season after a 13-3 regular season a year ago in which the offense set multiple franchise records and quarterback Carson Palmer was in the conversation for MVP candidacy upon setting several career firsts.Palmer and the offense, however, went missing in 2016 and other than second-year running back David Johnson, who ranks third in the league in rushing with 863 yards, there hasnt been any of the same consistency Arians and the Cardinals are used to enjoying.Palmer said theres only one thing on the teams mind as it gets ready for the Falcons.To win one game, he said. Cant worry about seeding or standings or division records; nothing matters other than this game. As leaders, as the older guys in the locker room, you just keep everybodys focus on one day at a time, finishing today. Weve got the practice part done. We have a lot of meetings and a lot of tape to watch. You finish day after day after day, and thats the mindset that we have.As for the Falcons, they still have last season on their mind. Atlanta began 6-1, but scuffled their way to a 2-7 finish over their last nine games to finish 8-8 and miss the playoffs for the third straight season.Another second-half collapse wouldnt only be punishing, it could lead to more changes once again for a franchise that hasnt been able to finish what it started. Head coach Dan Quinn acknowledged that still resonates across the organization, but that last seasons second-half fail could propel the Falcons moving forward.Well, we certainly hope so, Quinn said. The scars that you get when you finish poorly, they definitely leave a mark. Were a way different team than our 2015 team -- our mental toughness, our resilience; were just tighter, were better, were more complete in that way.Thats, I think, the biggest difference. Although we didnt finish all of them like wed like to this year, I would say were quite a bit different ooutfit than we were at the end of 2015.ddddddddddddtlanta boasts one of the leagues best offenses. Its ranked first in points per game (32.0), yards per play (6.7), passing yards per play (8.9) and touchdowns scored (36). Overall, the offense is ranked third, averaging 416.6 yards per game.Quarterback Matt Ryan is enjoying one of his finest season to date, ranking second in passing yards (3,247), third in passing touchdowns (24) and fourth in completion percentage (68.2). His favorite target, wide receiver Julio Jones, leads the league in receiving yards (1,105) and has been difficult for everyone to slow down.Jones had 10 receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown in his last game against the Cardinals two years ago, torching Arizonas All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson. That was the season in which Peterson, however, was dealing with diabetes and it had to be diagnosed, which led to his worst season in the pros.Peterson is a completely different player now, however, and Jones can see that on film.He dropped that weight, looks like hes in better shape, Jones said. Hes always a good athlete, a guy who can make plays. He can pretty much do a lot of great things.Peterson will shadow Jones throughout the game, something other teams have tried and failed to do against Jones this season.Teams have been trying to do that, but theyve been playing a lot of two-man while they were doing it, Jones said. Theyll take their OK corner and put him over me and then just have safety help, and try to put the better corner on the other side, try to let him lock that side down. Pat P, its just usually one-on-one. Its always been great matchups between us.The Cardinals get Tyrann Mathieu, their playmaking safety, back this week after the Honey Badger missed the last two games because of a shoulder subluxation. His addition could make the leagues top-ranked defense, which is allowing a league-low 287.4 total yards per game as well as the fewest passing yards per game (190.2), that much more dangerous.As good as Arizonas defense has been, Mathieu said it hasnt been good enough.I think we could play better, he said. Every game, theres like three or four plays where were just giving up touchdowns or giving up big plays. Weve got to continue to create turnovers, weve got to create more turnovers, weve got to find a way to score and shorten the field for our offense.Mathieu said the Cardinals will have their hands full with Ryan, Jones and Atlantas running back tandem of Davonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who is finally healthy.Theyre a dominating offense, obviously, he said. Matt Ryan is playing tremendous right now, Julio, it goes without saying, and theyve got two running backs that are definitely going to try and hurt us in the run and the pass game, so our front has to play well, our linebackers have to play well and then on the back end, weve got to do a good of containing Julio. China NFL Jerseys Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys NFL Jerseys Cheap Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap Basketball Jerseys Online Stitched Hockey Jerseys Wholesale Baseball Jerseys Football Jerseys Outlet College Jerseys For Sale Cheap MLB Jerseys Wholesale Soccer Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys For Sale Wholesale NFL Jerseys ' ' '