Fantasy Football Preview

With the NFL season right around the corner, millions of people worldwide are preparing for their Fantasy Football drafts. While these drafts can be hard to navigate, here is some position-by-position analysis to help show who to draft, and who not to draft.

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Quarterback:

Best: There is no surprise here, as the best quarterback in the NFL, Peyton Manning, will be the best quarterback in fantasy football. Manning’s monster year set the NFL touchdown record, yet he still has a chip on his shoulder for the Broncos’ Super Bowl performance. Watch Manning erupt again this year.

Bright: Perennial top-tier quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are the next best quarterbacks, as they both put up mass amounts of points. Rodgers’ mobility provides another option for point scoring, whereas Brees has receiving options aplenty, and will dissect even the best defenses. Both could lead any fantasy team to victory.

Sleepers: For sleepers this year, it is all about mobility. Robert Griffin III had a terrible season last year, due to recovering from a terrible injury as well as issues with the coach, Mike Shanahan. RGIII will bounce back and be on of the top fantasy quarterbacks due to his passing and running ability. Another great sleeper is Johnny Manziel. Manziel may not get start for the Browns in the beginning, but he will be the team’s quarterback by the end of the season. His running ability alone makes him a great backup quarterback, yet his passing ability only makes him even more dangerous.

Who to Avoid: Tom Brady had an awful season last year, and will look to keep up the lack of success this year. Yes, Rob Gronkowski will be healthy and will be a great target, but Brady doesn’t have any other good receivers, as Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman can get shut down easily. Stay away from Brady this year.

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Running Back:

Best: While ESPN has Adrian Peterson as their number one running back, they are sorely mistaken. The best running back, as well as the best overall fantasy football player, is Jamaal Charles. Charles carries the Chiefs every week, and puts up incredible stats. Watch Charles continue to dominate the entire league, and win your league.

Bright: The next best running backs are not hard to guess, they are Lesean McCoy and Adrian Peterson. McCoy is deadly due to his ability to run, but also his ability to get options for receiving options that other running backs don’t get. Adrian Peterson is still maybe the best athlete in the NFL, and he will definitely end up being picked in the top three, so don’t shy away.

Sleepers: Look out for Montee Ball next year, as he will be the main running back in Denver for the first time in his career. While the Broncos tend to only throw the ball, watch Ball vulture red zone touchdowns away from the Broncos’ receivers. Additionally, Bishop Sankey will be the main running back in Tennessee, and has already shown a strong performance in training camp. Watch Sankey come up huge this season, while still being available in the mid-to-late rounds of the draft.

Who to Avoid: While Alfred Morris hasn’t put up bad rushing yards in his first two seasons, it is the receiving stats that worries many owners. In two years, Morris has had only twenty receptions, and this shows that the Redskins will be more likely to give Roy Helu the ball on third downs, which will diminish the value of Morris.

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Wide Receiver:

Best: Calvin Johnson is without a doubt the best wide receiver in the NFL, and may be the best ever by the end of his career. Watch Megatron continue to dominate defenses, and catch huge touchdown passes from Matthew Stafford. Get Megatron in the first round, as there are only a handful of players better than him.

Bright: Demaryius Thomas is a no-brainer, since he is Peyton Manning’s favorite target. Thomas gets deep looks several times a game, and is always the first choice for Manning in the red zone. A.J. Green has also proven himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, and will continue to be the main part of Cincinnati’s offense. Get both of them early, as they will be gone in the blink of an eye.

Sleepers: Cordarrelle Patterson exploded into the NFL as a rookie this year, and will only continue his dominance. While he is the Vikings’ second receiver behind Greg Jennings, don’t wait too long to draft him, as he will be nabbed by your opponents for his ability to make get yards and touchdowns out of nothing. Additionally, look for the Brandin Cooks to be dynamic for the Saints. Drew Brees has Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston for big bodies, yet Cooks’ speed is unparalleled, even by Kenny Stills. Watch Cooks become a hot commodity, and it is even better that you can get him in the last round of your draft.

Who to Avoid: While Roddy White just got a fat new contract, he is aging rapidly, and can’t compete with Julio Jones, who will be Matt Ryan’s favorite target this year. Jones’ speed and skill outmatches White, and he will get most of the touches. Avoid White at all costs.

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Tight End:

Best: Although he may not want to be called a tight end, Jimmy Graham is the best tight end in the NFL. Graham is Drew Brees’ favorite receiver, and will get countless yards and touchdowns. Get Graham in the second round, as he is better than all receivers other than Calvin Johnson.

Bright: Julius Thomas is young, but has found a connection with Peyton Manning, and will be a sure target for touchdowns and important yardage situations. Rob Gronkowski may be slow to recover from a torn ACL, but he is Tom Brady’s only good target, and he will be sure to get abused by Brady.

Sleepers: With RGIII coming back, he has plenty of options to throw to, and Jordan Reed will continue his receiving success. Reed is young, quick and has great hands, and will surely be available late for a complete snipe. Eric Ebron has great size and athleticism and will be a great second option for Matthew Stafford to throw to after Calvin Johnson. Ebron will be available late in the draft, and should surely be picked up.

Who to Avoid: While Antonio Gates has had a great NFL career, he has seen his best days already. Youngster tight end Ladarius Green has formed a bond with Philip Rivers, and will be the main tight end threat for Rivers to throw to. Gates is obsolete, and should not be picked up.

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Defense/Special Teams:

Best: The Seahawks’ defense is what won the team the Super Bowl last year, so don’t miss out on the Legion of Boom this year. This team allows very few points, while forcing turnovers and scoring points on their own.

Bright: The 49ers and Panthers are both stellar defensively, and added key new players to further help them this year. Both teams limit their opponents to very few points, which is a very sought-after skill. Get these defenses if you can.

Sleepers: With the addition of Aaron Donald, the Rams defense will be dangerous this season. Look for the team to get tons of sacks and fumbles, generating points for fantasy teams. The Saints will have a deadly secondary this year, with the addition of Jairus Byrd. Watch them force lots of fumbles and make lots of interceptions for your fantasy team.

Who to Avoid: While the Browns added Karlos Dansby and Justin Gilbert, they and Joe Haden and Donte Whitner are not enough to make this defense good. Don’t be fooled, they have a weak defensive line, and will be ran over all day long, losing points for fantasy teams.

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Kicker:

Best: Last year Denver was the highest scoring team in the NFL, and they will absolutely be scoring as much if not more this season. With all those touchdowns, Matt Prater gets a point for every extra point. Also, in the instances that the Broncos don’t get a touchdown, Prater has a boot and can get tons of extra points for long distance points. Don’t wait until the last round to get a kicker, get Prater before it’s too late.

Bright: Stephen Gostkowski and Justin Tucker are in good offenses that just can’t seem to find the end zone. This means that the teams turn to them to make good fantasy points by kicking field goals. If Prater is not available, get these guys.

Sleepers: Robbie Gould and Dan Bailey may not be the best kickers, both of their teams were top five scoring teams in the NFL last year. These kickers will be getting field goals left and right, as well as adding extra points.

Who to Avoid: The Falcons have solid offensive threats now, and will be scoring more touchdowns than field goals. This means that Matt Bryant will only be earning one point, not three or more. Try to pick up somebody other than Bryant.

 

What to Watch for in the NFL Preseason

Many people take the NFL preseason lightly because most of the time the scrubs are battling it out. But the truth is, the preseason is important, because it gives teams the opportunity to set their depth charts. And also, with it being the first football in five months, you’ll probably watch it. Here are some key things to look for throughout the preseason.

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Week 1 Starting QB’s- It may not seem like a huge deal, but for teams that have QB battles, like Cleveland and the Jets, the Week 1 starter is who the coach views as the best possible choice. Lots of people are excited to watch Johnny Football, but he’ll start out playing with the second-stringers. Michael Vick vs Geno Smith (NYJ) will be interesting because both QBs play with similar styles, but Smith is said to have taken more first-team snaps than Vick. Make sure to note who starts on Sunday for the Browns, Jets, Vikings, Raiders, Jags, and Bucs.

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Who to Draft for Fantasy Football- The preseason may not be the best way to decide who to draft, but it’s a first glimpse of what each player will bring into the season. Of course there are hours and hours of preparation using last season’s stats and such, but preseason football gives you the chance to see who is ready to lead you to a championship this year. These four weeks may not help you decide to your starting QB should be, but it could certainly help you decide who some suitable backups are.

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The Rookies- With all the hype surrounding players like Jadeveon Clowney, Johnny Manziel, Sammy Watkins, and many more, the preseason is our first look at these rookies playing in an NFL game. The rookie quarterbacks should be given some attention too, even though none of them will probably start out with the first-stringers. These rookie QBs projects are a long process, because they will likely start out jittery, but should prove to be more NFL-ready as time wears on. Also, we’ll get the chance to see if Michael Sam is good enough to make it in the Rams organization and be the first openly gay player on an NFL 53-man roster.

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Thuuz Viewing Guide: Dog Days of Summer

After a month of soccer, the World Cup has finally come to a close. To some, this just means that they can continue on with their lives as usual. To the avid sports fan, however, this means that one of the most intriguing events in sports has come to a close, and something new must fill the void that the World Cup had previously occupied.  Sadly, we have entered the “Dog days of Summer”, the time when the only sport being covered is baseball, and we al know that the MLB can be a little slow at times. For those who get bored of baseball during the summer, here are some of the other sporting events that are taking place during the dog days.

10. WNBA- May 16th –August 17th 

For all those basketball lovers out there, the WNBA is perfect! The Women’s NBA provides the much needed basketball coverage that is lacking while the NBA is not in season, and the WNBA is a great place to tune in if you’re looking for some high tier basketball!

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9. Boxing

Watching two men box each other is always entertaining, and with all the fights this summer there’s sure to be spectacular fights. The biggest fights this summer include: Tyson Fury vs. Dereck Chisora for the British Heavyweight Title(July 26th) and Sergio Martinez vs. Miguel Cotto for WBC and Lineal Middleweight Titles(July 27th).

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8. UFC Fight Night

While boxing is entertaining, UFC is insane. With two grown men doing everything they can to decimate their opponent, UFC never disappoints. Biggest fights: Dominick Cruz vs. Takeya Mizugaki (September 27th); Tim Kennedy vs. Yoel Romero (September 27th); Patrick Cote vs. Stephen Thompson(September 27th).

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7. Tennis- Atlanta Open- August 15th – August 23rd 

With most of the tennis done for the year, the only tournaments left lacking the big names of tennis.  The defending champion of the Atlanta open is John Isner, and he is looking as strong as ever, and is looking to claim the title once again.

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6. Auto Racing

While racing isn’t for everyone, it is considered one of the purely American Sports, so try to tune in for at least a few laps!  The biggest races of the summer are the Labor Day Classic 500(August 23rd) and the Geico 500(October 18th – 19th).

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5. World Series of Beach Volleyball (July 22nd – July 27th)

Based in Long Beach California, the World Series of Volleyball never fails to disappoint.  Beach Volleyball is a great sport to play on the beach, but these pros take the fun recreational sport to the next level. With live music performances every day, the World Series of Beach Volleyball is an event that you shouldn’t miss!

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4. World Lacrosse Championship (July 10th – July 19th)

With 38 Nations competing from around the world, it’s amazing that more people aren’t aware of this championship. Much like the World Cup for Lacrosse, teams from all over the world come to compete, and with lacrosse growing as fast as it is, in a few years this event may become extremely popular.

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3. PGA Championship (August 7th – August 10th)

The PGA Championship is always one of the biggest events in golf, and one of the most important.  Jason Dufner will try to defend his title that he received last year, but it will be difficult due to the top tier competition. The last person to win the PGA Championship twice in a row was Tiger Woods in 2006 and 2007.

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2. The Tour De France (July 5th – July 27th)

This three week cycling race is always one of the most anticipated cycling races of the year.  Covering over 3,000 kilometers and 22 days, these cyclists have to be in top shape in order to compete. While the race is extremely long, it’s always fun to watch the race whenever it is on.

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1.  Champions Cup Soccer (July 24th – August 4th)

With the excitement of the World Cup still running high, the Champions Cup Soccer should be one of the best leagues to follow if your love for soccer has been rekindled. With some of the best players in the world, the level of play is extremely high. If you didn’t get enough soccer from the World Cup, Champions Cup Soccer is where you should look for more soccer!

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The Top 5 Most Exciting Teams and Matches of The 2014 FIFA World Cup

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil gave fans worldwide everything they could have asked for. Narrow victories by underdogs. Massive blowouts to global titans. Incredible individual performances. Extraordinary team efforts. The worldwide insatiable thirst for excitement was quenched by an astounding World Cup that left sports enthusiasts everywhere counting down the days until the 2018 tournament kicks off. With Germany capping off the competition with a victory over Argentina in the final, here are the five most exciting teams and five most exciting games, sorted by Thuuz rating.

Top 5 Most Exciting Teams

5. Greece- 81.5 average Thuuz rating

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As the tournament went on, Greece’s games got more and more exciting. After opening with a 3-0 clunker against Colombia, Greece gained a point with a 0-0 tie versus Japan that was rated at 89 by Thuuz. Even when Kostas Katsouranis was sent off with his second yellow card in the 38th minute, the Greece defense held Japan scoreless playing a man down. Against Ivory Coast, Greece punched its ticket to the Round of 16 with a thrilling 2-1 victory that saw Georgios Samaras net a penalty kick in stoppage time for the win. Greece fell to Costa Rica in the Round of 16 in a match Thuuz rated at 100. Greece and Costa Rica could not reach a decision in regulation or overtime after a Greece equalizer in stoppage time, but Costa Rica prevailed 5-3 on penalty kicks.

4. Ivory Coast- 86 average Thuuz rating

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Another Group C team, Ivory Coast failed to advance, but still played in three close and exciting games. Ivory Coast opened its tournament by surging past Japan 2-1, with two second-half goals coming with in two minutes of each other to secure the victory. Les Éléphantes then fell to Colombia 2-1 in a match that was rated at a 89. Finally, Ivory Coast was minutes away from advancing via goal differential versus Greece, but had their hearts ripped out on a last-minute penalty kick that sent the Greeks through.

3. United States- 90 average Thuuz rating

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The United States found themselves in some fascinating games during their World Cup run, as three of their four games were rated at 100 by Thuuz. John Brooks’ header in the 86th minute lifted the US to a scintillating win over Ghana after the loss of their star striker Jozy Altidore. Against Portugal, the Stars and Stripes fell behind early but scored twice in the second half, including a 81st minute go-ahead goal from Clint Dempsey. But Portugal scored on the last touch of the game to hold the US out of the knockout round for the time behind. The US played a bit of a clunker in their third game, losing 1-0 to Germany. Nonetheless, the United States finale against Belgium might have been its finest performance Thuuz-wise, with excitement rising as the game went on, including three goals in extra time and plenty of opportunities for both teams.

2. Ecuador- 90.33 average Thuuz rating

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Similar to Ivory Coast, Ecuador did not advance out of its group, but still found itself in the midst of some tremendous matches. Ecuador opened group play with an exciting, yet heartbreaking loss to Switzerland in which the Swiss scored the go-ahead goal with under 30 second left in stoppage time. In its second match, La Tri fell behind Honduras in the first half but Enner Valencia scored twice to lift Ecuador to victory in a game rated at 83 by Thuuz. In its final match, Ecuador faced off against France, with a chance to advance had it won by a healthy margin. However, the two teams played to a 0-0 draw, with Ecuador playing a man down for most of the second half. Ecuador’s final match was rated at a 88 by Thuuz.

1. Ghana- 100 average Thuuz rating

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Ghana only gained one point in Group G, but all three of its games were rated at 100. The Black Stars opened with a 2-1 loss to the United States, where Ghana equalized in the 81st minute, only to see John Brooks score five minutes later. Ghana faced off with Germany in its next match, playing to a 2-2 tie. However, all four goals came in a fascinating 20-minute span, creating one of the most exciting matches of the tournament. Finally, the Black Stars faced off with Portugal needing a win and and a United States loss to advance. Ghana fell behind on an early own goal and after an equalizer, was victim to a Cristiano Ronaldo goal in the 80th minute that sent them home, but not after playing some incredible games.

 

Top 5 Most Exciting Matches

5. Ghana, 2; Germany, 2 (100 Thuuz rating)

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Germany’s only tie of the 2014 World Cup came against Ghana in the second match of the group stage. After a quiet first half, the second period exploded with excitement starting with Mario Götze’s goal in the 51st minute. André Ayew equalized three minutes later, and in the 63rd minute Asamoah Gyan pulled the Black Stars ahead after a costly Germany turnover. However, in the 71st minute, Miroslav Klose scored his record-tying 15th career World Cup goal to tie the match, where it stayed throughout the final 20 minutes.

4. United States, 2; Portugal, 2 (100 Thuuz rating)

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The United States fell behind early after Nani was gived a goal by a poor Geoff Cameron touch. After some missed opportunities, Jermaine Jones fired in a laser of an equalizer, then Clint Dempsey pushed the Americans ahead with a 81st minute goal. But the United States lost its chance to advance when Cristiano Ronaldo sent in a perfect cross to Varela five minutes into stoppage time. Varela’s goal tied the game on what was literally the last touch of the match, and kept the United States out of the Round of 16 for the time being.

3. France, 5; Switzerland, 2 (100 Thuuz rating)

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Though France blew out Switzerland in this Group E matchup, the sheer number of goals scored, many in quick succession, made this game exciting. Oliver Giroud and Blaise Matuidi scored in back-to-back minutes to put the French ahead in the first half and Mathieu Valbuena’s goal in the 40th minute gave France a 3-0 lead going into the break. Karim Benzema nutmegged the goalie for a beautiful 67th minute goal and Moussa Sissoko made the lead 5-0 with one of his own. Switzerland got a couple of goals back as Granit Xhaka’s gorgeous volley made it 5-2, but it was too little, too late for the Swiss.

2. Belgium, 2; United States, 1 (100 Thuuz rating)

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While the United States lost this Round of 16 game, Tim Howard turned in a performance for the ages. The American goalkeeper saved a World Cup-record 16 shot attempts in a 2-1 loss to Belgium. The match seemed to get better and better as the time ticked away. Belgium dominated throughout regulation and scored twice in the opening period of extra time for a commanding 2-0 lead. But 19 year old Julian Green scored in the 107th minute to pull the United States within one goal. However, the Americans couldn’t equalize despite some solid opportunities and Belgium moved on to the quarterfinals.

1. Germany, 1; Argentina, 0 (100 Thuuz rating)

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Fittingly, the 2014 World Cup ended with a dazzling championship match, as Germany prevailed over Argentina to capture its fifth World Cup. Ripe with excitement and plenty of missed opportunities, the match headed to extra time scoreless and stayed that way until the 113th minute. Mario Götze received a cross in the box, controlled it with his chest, and volleyed the ball in for a World-Cup winning goal. Lionel Messi and his teammates could not pull off a victory on Brazil’s turf despite many good chances. It’s safe to say that the final game as well as the entire tournament satisfied soccer fans and even casual sports fans around the world

2014 NBA Orlando Summer League: What We’ve Learned So Far

At some point, it’s silly to speculate about the summer league. Each team has about four players who might make the NBA squad, as the rest of the team is composed of undrafted castoffs and second-round journeymen. However, speculation sure is fun and the summer league does provide valuable game time for young high-caliber prospects. With that being said, here what we have learned after a few days watching the summer league in Orlando.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope can score, provided he gets the chance.

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In the Piston’s final game of the 2013-14 season, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope exploded for a career-high 30 points on 5-7 shooting from deep along with six rebounds. It was an otherwise disappointing year for the #8 overall pick in the 2013 draft, as he only put up six points per game in less than 20 minutes a night. However, so far in Orlando, KCP has exploded to the tune of 27 points per game and eight assists per game. The Georgia product has taken about 20 shots per game, but his scoring ability is definitely on display in Orlando. With a new coach, KCP could get more chances in the Detroit offense if he keeps it up.

Marcus Smart is probably is the player we thought he was.

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Young NBA players often don’t turn out as expected. In every draft, there are players who don’t live up to expectations or whose skill sets don’t translate to the NBA. Coming into the draft, Marcus Smart was seen as a great defensive player who could facilitate and rebound as well. So far, Smart has been pretty much accurate with his projected skill set. He’s put up almost 12 points per game, but on a ghastly 25% clip, including 17.6% from deep. However, he’s also averaged 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game as well as a league-leading 2.7 steals per game. Smart should be a very good defensive presence from the get-go, and if he improves his long range shot, he’ll be a great NBA guard.

Aaron Gordon could struggle to make an impact during his rookie year .333% shooting 0-5 on threes , payton good 6.7 5.7 apg 4.3 rpg but 3.67 topg.

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Aaron Gordon is having a rough time trying to provide positive minutes for the Magic summer league team. If this persists, it’s hard to see him making an impact for the Magic during the 2014-15 season. The Arizona product is averaging 6.7 points per game on 33% shooting and has yet to make a three pointer. He only has one block and twelve rebounds in four games. While Gordon can impact a game with his energy and defense, he appears to be a project currently, and might not see the floor a lot during the beginning of the the season.

Nerlens Noel could be a pleasant surprise for the Sixers.

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In his first competitive game in over a year, Nerlens Noel certainly lived up to expectations. Noel put up 19 points on 11 shots and racked up four steals. While he only had two rebounds and one block, the 2013 #6 overall pick has average eight rebounds and 3.67 blocks per game in the three contests since. While the Sixers might be hard to watch this year, Noel should be plenty of fun to watch. And when Joel Embiid returns, watch out.

Shabazz Napier will not be handed the Heat point guard role.

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The two-time national champion has really struggled during his time in Orlando. In his first game, Napier scored 12 points on 15 shots and turned the ball over 8 times. He’s turned it over 16 times in three games and only shot 3-18 from range. Obviously, Napier will need to improve.