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.

Top 10 NFL Position Battles

Believe it or not, NFL training camps will commence starting from the last week of July. With the kick-off of training camps comes training camp battles. Young, unproven players will compete with veterans; fallen stars will compete with rookies. Here are some training camp battles that are sure to be as hot in the upcoming months.

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New York Jets quarterback: Geno Smith vs. Michael Vick

Though Geno Smith was pretty terrible as the Jets quarterback in 2013, the job still remains his to lose. His competition is Michael Vick, who signed a one year deal with New York before the season. While Vick has obviously had more experience and past success, he hasn’t been good for several years. Expect the Jets to give their 2013 draft pick another year at the helm, barring a complete breakdown from Smith.

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Cleveland Browns backfield: Johnny Manziel vs. Brian Hoyer; Ben Tate vs. Isaiah Crowell vs. Terrance West

There is a lot to be won in the Cleveland backfield. Obviously, Hoyer vs. Manziel is the battle everyone is talking about. Manziel was the face of college football the past couple of years, and he was drafted to a team that needs hope and excitement as badly as anyone. However, Hoyer is the starter for now. Manziel still needs to learn to play within a system and Hoyer was actually fairly successful in his three starts for Cleveland. At running back, Ben Tate was signed to fill the void left at running back by Trent Richardson. However, the Browns drafted West and signed Crowell as an undrafted free agent. Nonetheless, expect Tate to get the starting role given his past success and experience carrying the rock.

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St. Louis Rams running back: Zac Stacy vs. Tre Mason

Zac Stacy had a great rookie season for a fifth round pick, rushing for 973 yards and seven touchdowns. However, his hold on the starting running back job for St. Louis is not as safe as one would expect. The Rams drafted Tre Mason, the SEC offensive player of the year, in the third round of this year’s draft. Mason is looking for the lion’s share of carries right out of the gate, but Stacy will likely retain the job because of his past success and knowledge of the playbook. However, Mason will receive plenty of touches as a change-of-pace guy.

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Green Bay Packers tight end: Andrew Quarless vs. Richard Rodgers vs. Brandon Bostick

After Jermichael Finley suffered a neck injury and had to undergo surgery, the Packers will probably not re-sign him. Andrew Quarless is entering his fifth year as a Packer, but his play-making ability is not as strong as younger Packer tight ends. Green Bay drafted Richard Rodgers, a big, athletic tight end who actually played receiver for Cal in 2013. Brandon Bostick is another young tight end who, like Rodgers, needs to improve his blocking in order to see the field. If the Packers struggle offensively, expect Rodgers and Bostick to see the field more as playmakers. If Aaron Rodgers can find other targets, Quarless will remain the starter as the more developed blocker.

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Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver: Marqise Lee vs. Ace Sanders vs. Mike Brown vs. Allen Robinson

Lee, Sanders, and Robinson have all come to the Jaguars via the draft in the past two years. With Justin Blackmon and his off-field problems gone, there is a starting job available aside Cecil Shorts at wide receiver. Lee and Robinson are both exceptional talents coming out of college, and their physical attributes should give the two of them the advantage over the diminutive Sanders and Brown.  Expect Lee, the more polished of the two, to get the starting job from the get-go. Sanders and Brown should see the field plenty out of the slot, as they can make plays in open space.

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Minnesota Vikings quarterback: Teddy Bridgewater vs. Matt Cassel vs. Christian Ponder

The Vikings have whiffed on quarterbacks in the post-Favre era. After being drafted in 2011, Christian Ponder has been a bust, and Matt Cassel took his starting role in 2013. Minnesota’s front office, however, doesn’t see Cassel as the long-term answer, drafting Louisville product Teddy Bridgewater in the first round of this year’s draft. Nonetheless, Cassel got the most reps at minicamp and looks to be the starter headed into the season. Expect Cassel to have a short leash under center, as Bridgewater could be tossed into the fire early.

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Miami Dolphins running back: Lamar Miller vs. Knowshon Moreno

These two running backs had opposite seasons in 2013, with Miller turning in a disappointing year for Miami while Moreno enjoyed a breakout year for the AFC-winning Broncos. Moreno was obviously aided by a potent Denver offense while Miller had to deal with the worst offensive line in football. Miller has the early advantage in terms of reps, but the significance of first team reps in May could be null and void by September. Moreno is reportedly overweight and has been bogged down by a knee injury. Give the slight edge to Miller now, but Moreno could easily catch him when the fall comes around.

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San Diego Chargers cornerback: Shareece Wright vs. Jason Verrett vs. Steve Williams

The Chargers filled one of their cornerback spots by signing ex-Chief Brandon Flowers. The other position is up for grabs. San Diego picked Jason Verrett out of TCU with the 14th pick in the 2014 draft. Shareece Wright struggled in 2013, so Verrett and Cal product Steve Williams will likely get long looks throughout training camp. Expect Verrett to emerge from training camp with the starting role.

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Oakland Raiders running back: Darren McFadden vs. Maurice Jones-Drew

Both Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew are both above-average, if not elite running backs when healthy. However, they haven’t been healthy for a while. Jones-Drew, who contemplated retirement this past offseason, will try to revive his career with his hometown Raiders. McFadden is coming off back-to-back disappointing seasons, and with another disappointing one, with likely have to find another team. Given Jones-Drew’s historical success and versatility., the UCLA product should win the job.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback: Mike Glennon vs. Josh McCown

Mike Glennon surprised everyone with a solid rookie campaign in 13 starts for the Bucs. But when Lovie Smith was hired as the new coach, he promptly named free-agent signee Josh McCown the starter. McCown was exceptional in 2013 for Chicago, so it makes sense for Tampa Bay to initially go with a quarterback who has lots of NFL experience and might bring more short term wins. However, if the Bucs aren’t competitive early on, McCown could be moved and Tampa Bay will look to the future and build around Glennon.

NBA Free Agent Signing Grades (Week 1)

The NBA never sleeps. When San Antonio wrapped up a convincing championship win over Miami, the buzz simply shifted to the draft. When the calendar turned to July, free agency officially opened and with it, speculation and rumors. While teams cannot actually sign players to contract until July 10, the first of the month marks the day when front offices can try to court their free agent Prince Charmings. The 2014 free agency crop is a talented one, and plenty of questions are present. Will the Big Three stay together? Where will Melo end up? Who is going to pay Lance Stephenson to blow in Lebron’s ear? Though it’s only been open season for a few days, several notable signings and re-signings have occurred. Here are some grades for early decisions so far in free agency.

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Kyle Lowry re-signs with Toronto; 4 yr, $48 million

Lowry proved himself as probably the most important Raptor during their playoff series versus the Nets. He should have been an All-Star and he’s a borderline star in the NBA. Toronto made him priority #1 this offseason, locking him up through his prime at a relatively cheap cost given his value to the team. The Raptors still have work to do this offseason in order to maintain their success, but fans should trust the Midas touch of GM Masai Ujiri.

Grade: A

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Marcin Gortat re-signs with Washington; 5 yr; $60 million

Marcin Gortat was one of the vital components of a Wizards team that ended up losing in the conference semifinals. Washington’s front office believes it can compete in a weak Eastern Conference, and in order to do so, re-signing Gortat was vital. Of course this led to a player-friendly contract. Gortat is worth his $12 million a year, but the length of the contract could bog down the Wizards when the center passes his prime (right about now).

Grade right now: A-; Grade in 2016-17: C

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Shaun Livingston signs with Golden State; 3 yr, $16 million (third year not guaranteed)

Golden State looked to former Nets combo guard Shaun Livingston as the man to ease Stephen Curry’s minutes as the backup point guard. While Livingston can’t shoot and isn’t a great creator, his size will allow him to guard both guard positions and create mismatches in the post. He should be a great role player for a Warrior team that had plenty of bench problems this past season. Given Livingston’s injury history, the third year of the contract is not guaranteed, so the Warriors should look good coming out of this deal no matter what, even if Livingston isn’t a splashy signing.

Grade: B+

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Darren Collison signs with Sacramento; 3 yr, $16 million

Kind of a confusing move from the Kings here. Collison is essentially a backup point guard who brings good defense but limited offensive potential. The Kings’ incumbent point guard, Isaiah Thomas, put up a career high 20.3 ppg and 6.3 apg. Thomas is a restricted free agent, so this move could be an insurance policy in case the Washington product receives a huge offer sheet. While the Collison deal is relatively cheap, the contract is a bit confusing as Sacramento is not in a good position to be downgrading at the point guard position.

Grade: C+

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C.J. Miles signs with Indiana; 4 yr, $18 million

Former Cavs small forward C.J. Miles should provide some needed long range accuracy for a Pacer squad looking for more bench production. Though Indiana boasts one of the best starting fives in the NBA, their bench needs some work. Miles should be able to thrive as a sniper off the bench. While this contract seems a bit long for a role player, it’s also very tradeable if things between Miles and the Pacers don’t work out. Indiana will try to re-sign Lance Stephenson next while staying under the luxury tax.

Grade: B

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Jodie Meeks signs with Detroit; 3 yr, $19 million

Despite all the cries that Jodie Meeks was overpaid and that he is a one-dimensional player, he will actually provide a great fit for the Pistons. Obviously, his three-point stroke will bolster an awful Detroit perimeter game, but Meeks also brings solid defense and a range of offensive skills that will ease the pressure off of the Pistons’ frontcourt. Stan Van Gundy obviously has a plan, and he got one of his targets in Jodie Meeks.

Grade: A-

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Spencer Hawes signs with Los Angeles Clippers; 4 yr, $23 million

The Clippers missed an opportunity to get a big man during the NBA Draft, but once free agency started, they didn’t hesitate to fill a void in the frontcourt. Los Angeles signed 7-footer Spencer Hawes to provide valuable backup big man minutes behind Blake Griffin and Deandre Jordan. The Clippers’ frontcourt behind Griffin and Jordan was a mess last year, so credit the front office for identifying their need and going after Hawes. The former Cavs center would start on plenty of other teams, so he should see up to 25 minutes a game. Hawes provides range out past the three point line as well as solid rebounding numbers. With this new addition, Los Angeles will be a force in the Western Conference.

Grade: A

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Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts sign with Miami: 2 yr, $4 million (Granger), 4 yr, $23 million (McRoberts)

Pat Riley made his first two free agent signings of the 2014 offseason after rumors tossed around names like Kyle Lowry, Carmelo Anthony, and Pau Gasol. Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts are not the splashy signings that the Heat hoped for, but given their cap space (or lack thereof), Miami can’t do much better. McRoberts and Granger will likely do little to influence Lebron James to stay in Miami, but the Heat don’t really have the capacity to sign anyone better than average rotational players. McRoberts should be a good distributor and defender at the four, while Granger can provide scoring in spurts. However, neither of them project to be as impactful as Chris Bosh and James should the two of them re-sign.

Granger Grade: C; McRoberts Grade: B