Buy or Sell: Suns, Gators, Brewers
In this week’s installment of Buy or Sell, we take a look at whether a bottom-feeding NBA franchise made the right move in canning its general manager right before the start of the season; whether Dan Mullen’s new collegiate program is truly BACK; and whether the smallest market left in the MLB playoffs can take home the ultimate prize.
Cullen: The Phoenix Suns Made the Right Move in Firing GM Ryan McDonough (Despite the Season Starting in Just Days).
RahimAli: I’m buying real hard on this move. It’s been a rough eight years for the Suns as they failed to make the playoffs after Steve Nash took them to Game 6 in the 2006 Western Conference Finals against the eventual Champions, Los Angeles Lakers. Nash later went on to finish his career as a Laker and couldn’t stay on the court. But the Suns never could find themselves a replacement for Nash. I mean, the closest thing they got was Goran Dragic and they couldn’t decide whether or not they wanted him. Trading for him and then traded him away. The other players were Isaiah Thomas, Brandon Knight, and Eric Bledsoe. All of whom were traded for picks and other players.
Those are all moves under McDonough as general manager. If there aren’t any new results or improvement to the team over the time in which he was making the decisions, then other decisions have to be made. Last year was the head coach and this year it was the general manager. Not quite sure what they plan to do in terms of making moves to get better, but trading away your best point guard since Nash for a pick and a center that you bought out made no sense to me. And with the West only getting stronger, it may be tough for them to get out of the bottom half of the conference. I think the additions of Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza finally gets them the help they need at forward. Hopefully DeAndre Ayton and Josh Jackson can have break out seasons and help the Suns not only get better, but find the right GM to bring in the right guys next season.
Mickayeen: I sell the Suns firing Ryan McDonough as being the right move. Very bad move, even if it wasn’t this close to the season. Them failing to make the playoffs for the better part of the last decade has not been McDonough’s fault. The reason the franchise has been so bad has been the result of very bad ownership in Robert Sarver. All the moves RahimAli mentioned as being under McDonough have been mostly the result of Sarver and his micromanaging the team. Sarver has been too involved in the team, and it won’t matter who is the GM there. As long as Sarver is there, he will be the one pulling the strings and they will continue to be mediocre at best.
RahimAli: The Florida Gators Will Win the SEC East After Knocking off LSU.
Cullen: Selling on Florida winning the SEC East. Georgia is still the team to beat, as they’ve looked dominant so far this year and have the better overall conference and division record. Florida losing to Kentucky hurts their chances at representing the East in the (almost) annual slaughtering at the hands of the Crimson Tide in the conference championship game. The Bulldogs have to travel to Baton Rouge this weekend for a match against the wounded Tigers, but then Georgia gets a bye week before playing Florida in Jacksonville.
Neither one of these teams has an easy schedule down the stretch, but the Bulldogs have a better starting QB, a better head coach, and a better overall team. Plus, they’ve got experience. Mullen is working wonders in The Swamp, and while the Gators may challenge the Bulldogs for East supremacy, it will be down the road when that happens.
Mickayeen: I’m selling the Gators winning the East. I’m not sure how much more needs to be added to my reasoning other than what has already been put forth by Cullen. Georgia is the top dawg and will continue to be. I’ll hedge a little bit here and say that having Georgia at home this season gives the Gators a chance, but I’m taking Georgia to win that game by double digits if they both play their best.
Mickayeen: The Brewers Will Win the World Series
RahimAli: I’m selling the Brewers win the World Series. As you know by now, I am a huge LA sports fan, so I may be putting a bit of bias opinion into it, but look at the history between the two teams. Dodgers have won their sixth straight division title in which time the Brewers have been at home watching their division rivals like the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals battle their way to the postseason and capture World Series wins.
The Dodgers came one game short of the World Series last year and they look to take it this year. They have the best rotation in the Majors, and manager Dave Roberts has done a great job managing them through all the injuries faced during the season, which has only made them stronger than ever. The Brewers added a lot of offense to their team and the pitching has be tremendous thus far this season. I do believe that Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich will win the NL MVP for the season, but this will come down to who does better down the stretch of the game. I think the Dodgers will win in seven games.
Cullen: Selling the Brewers winning the World Series, but I’ll buy them representing the Senior Circuit in the Fall Classic. Despite having the better record (and with it, home field advantage) than the Dodgers, picking the Brewers feels like an upset.
Why is that? Well, Milwaukee being such a small market is part of it. Plus, by merely taking a look at the names on the teams’ rosters, the Dodgers have the better squad. Both teams are clicking right now, and both strolled their divisional series relatively easily, with the Brewers sweeping the Rockies and the Dodgers defeating the Braves in 5 (as predicted).
Both teams have well-balanced lineups with major pop (Brewers have five guys with 20+ home runs, including three with at least 32 while the Dodgers boast a whopping eight players with 20+ home runs with two of them at 32+). The starting pitching and the bullpens also compare well to one another.
So why am I picking the Brewers? I can’t pinpoint it, exactly, but this team has vibes similar to both the 2014 and 2015 Kansas City Royals, teams I followed closely. Hell, multiple members from those Royals teams are on the 2018 Brewers. In both the 2014 and 2015 pennants, the Royals seemed the underdog against the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays, respectively, and yet the Royals steamrolled both of them.
I don’t expect Milwaukee to steamroll L.A. In fact, I’m predicting this series goes the full seven, and for the Brewers to celebrate their first National League Championship on their home field.
What’s everyone else think? Was McDonough really the problem in Phoenix–or is it Sarver? Are the Gators the team to beat in the East? What’s Milwaukee going to do against the Dodgers? Let us know in the comments!