Harper Making Curry-like Ascension to the Top

(Photo via washington.cbslocal.com)

We are only about 15 games into the regular season, but already, we are seeing numerous stars in the MLB come into the league and dominate. With former superstars like David Ortiz, Ichiro, Albert Pujols, etc. that are likely heading to their final at-bats in this league, the MLB is ready to usher in a new age of talent and excitement to the game. And no star shines brighter than Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals.

Harper, 23, was first recognized back in his high school days in Las Vegas, Nevada. Even by age 19, scouts and executives knew that this player was something special. He ended up getting drafted by the lonely Nationals 1st overall in the 2010 draft. Since then, Harper has become the youngest position player to ever make an all-star team, was the 2012 rookie of the year, and became the youngest MVP winner in league history. In his breakout 2015 MVP season, Harper batted .330 with 42 homers and 99 RBIs. But his greatness doesn’t stop there…

Bryce Harper has started his 2016 season even stronger than last year. In just 13 games, Harper has hit 7 HR, to go along with 20 RBIs, and has led his Nationals to the second-best record in the league (they are only a ½ game behind the Cubs). Clearly, Harper is ascending at an incredibly fast pace. He looks poised for the same kind of performance leap that Stephen Curry saw from last year’s MVP season to this year.

Both Harper and Curry have become the faces of their respective leagues, and both are only going to get better. While Steph has transcended the way the game is played, with more emphasis on dribbling and outside shooting, Harper has also become a trailblazer for how our national pastime is played. He is adding a jolt to this slow-paced game, making it more exciting and enjoyable for both players and fans alike. He has taken the throne atop the rest of the league’s superstars, just like Curry did, bypassing King James in the process.

It might be too early to call, but Harper looks well on his way to another MVP title this year. What remains to be seen is if his Nationals squad has the pieces to contend for a title. They always seem to look good on paper, but tend to fizzle in performance near the end of the year, or just simply underachieve. But what I know for certain is that whatever the Nationals hope to achieve over the next few years, they will have to rely on the 23 year old prodigy to get them there.

– J. Yellin

The Melo Effect

(Photo via theodysseyonline.com)

Here we go again. As Thursday’s trade deadline comes around, it’s only fair I tell you why the Knickerbockers need to deal Carmelo Anthony if they want to save their franchise before they turn into the next 76ers.

Before diagnosing whether or not you should keep a player as valuable as Anthony may be, the question you need to ask is this; Does this player make the team better or worse? My answer might surprise you.

I don’t think Carmelo Anthony makes the team immediately worse, but I firmly believe that he doesn’t help the team as much as someone else could. Melo has sexy stats, but in my opinion, scoring is an inflated stat that I hate to use. The reason he is always in the top tier in scoring is because he is taking all the shots. If you look at his efficiency, the tune changes a little.

Now people will counter by saying he’s never had a number two. The reason Melo takes a high volume of shots is because he doesn’t have a partner in crime like so many of the leagues best teams. I’ll counter that by asking “who does fit with Melo then?”

Anthony primarily uses his isolation style offense, which is often individually effective, but the team can’t win like that. On a good shooting night, they can survive, but in a comparative seven game series, there’s no way they could survive by playing one on one.

So what’s my answer?

Under the current circumstances, I would deal the Syracuse superstar. You have a promising young talent in Porzingis, so I would build around him. If you get a good scoring guard like a Westbrook (who could likely be parting ways with Durant and OKC after 2017), the possibilities of team synergy looks much better. Listen, I know trading for Westbrook wouldn’t be easy, but a guy like him would have almost complete freedom in the Knick offense and would thrive with Porzingis, who’s versitility is like that of Westbrook’s current team mate, Kevin Durant.

Also, the Knicks have mortgaged their first round pick this year and their second round pick for 4 years to come in failed attempts to build around Anthony. As the shark could attest as a finance major, you need to know when to cut your losses. Sometimes taking a small loss is the right thing to do to prevent bigger problems.

But it’s important to remember Melo has a no trade clause in his contract, so any deal needs to go through him anyway. It’ll be interesting to see what moves the Knicks make ahead of the trade deadline, if any, but I surely wouldn’t mind them sending Melo out the door to a title contender with young talent to offer.

– R. Ilardi