November 16, 2019

Tiger roars back and Floyd-Manny II: our bold sports predictions for 2019

By admin

first_imgTopics Share on Pinterest Anthony Davis will join LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. OK, maybe this isn’t exactly the boldest possible prediction since James’ wooing of the ridiculously talented New Orleans Pelicans center has reached the point where the NBA has issued a statement warning teams against tampering. The Pelicans probably won’t be able to hold on to their franchise player and it’s hard to imagine a better situation for Davis, or the league, than having him join James in LA. A LeBron/Davis Lakers team could do damage in the Western Conference, especially if Kevin Durant leaves the Golden State Warriors in the dust, which I’m also predicting will happen. HFBryce Harper: buyer bewareOn the surface, Harper is a free-agent dream. A so-called “generational” talent at 26 years old, and one with a career OPS of an even .900. Who would want a player like that? Just about everybody, but everybody doesn’t have pockets deep enough to accommodate the outfielder. That means he’ll land in a big market, meaning greater expectations and pressure that Harper never truly felt in Washington. While DC is the sixth largest television market in the United States, it doesn’t play like a New York or an LA. If Harper lands in a big smoke, Harper will struggle to find his feet with expectations mixing into a formula that’s already produced inconsistent results. For example, Yasiel Puig, who may have been moved from the Los Angeles Dodgers to help accommodate Harper’s would-be budget-busting contract, had a higher WAR than Harper last season: a paltry 1.3, albeit, mostly because of poor defensive numbers. Then again, he’s capable of hanging a 10 on the WAR scale, but that was three full seasons ago. That’s not the consistency you should expect from a “generational” player. Buyer beware. DLFloyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao dance againHardened skeptics pooh-poohed Mayweather’s summit meeting with Pacquiao for happening far past its sell-by date and were partially vindicated by a one-sided fight that left customers feeling let down and ripped off. A rematch between now-quadragenarian icons, surely won’t do the record-shattering business of that poorly received 2015 blockbuster, but will no doubt be a money-spinning affair and another nine-figure payday for both men. Pacquiao, who won a secondary welterweight title belt in the summer, signed with longtime Mayweather adviser Al Haymon last month and is due to fight Adrien Broner on 20 January. Should the Filipino senator make it through unscathed, a rematch that nobody asked for will likely be announced for May or June. BAGAryna Sabalenka wins her first grand slamGiven she is 13 in the world and hits the ball as hard as Serena Williams, picking 20-year-old Aryna Sabalenka to win a slam in 2019 might not appear to be that outrageous. After all, there have been eight different champions in the last eight majors. However, while that statistic alone describes the volatility and promise of the women’s game, Williams, at 37, is in the mood to build on her two 2018 finals in a comeback year of high drama – so Sabalenka and the other contenders will have that considerable obstacle to a breakthrough. None the less, she has more weapons than nearly all of her contemporaries. It could be the start of another era – even at Williams’s expense. KMMixed martial arts outside the US gains tractionMixed martial arts can feel insular or expansive depending on your perspective. The UFC is often regarded as the sun at the center of MMA’s solar system, and the start of its five-year relationship with ESPN in January should only strengthen the promotion’s brand recognition. Heading into 2019, however, MMA outside the United States, particularly Asia’s One Championship, is well positioned to capture American fight fans’ imagination in a way it hasn’t since Pride collapsed more than a decade ago. JGSomeone will make curling work on TVCurling is a quadrennial hit on TV, and waves of people have hit the ice to try for themselves. But US broadcasters simply don’t know how to handle the sport between the Games. NBC’s Curling Night in America broadcasts, recorded en masse early in the season and shown game-by-game over the next several months, simply don’t cut it. They just repeat the same talking points – especially this year, when they talk ad infinitum about John Shuster’s magical gold-medal run – instead of giving a breakdown of the tactics behind each shot and whether or not it succeeded, as we can see on the occasional Canadian broadcast picked up by ESPN3. Ironically, the same network that makes curling a personality parade (NBC) proved the Premier League can be a hit on American TV when commentators stop talking down to viewers and start taking it seriously. When someone takes the same approach with curling, viewers will take notice. BD The Recap: sign up for the best of the Guardian’s sport coverage Share on Facebook Here are our bold predictions for 2019 in sports. Please note the bold (or should that be bold?) in bold predictions: these are to be taken with a pinch of salt.Tiger Woods will win the US OpenThat Woods could compete in illustrious golf company once more was demonstrated by strong performances in the 2018 Open and US PGA Championship. Subsequent victory at the Tour Championship proved a further, notable milestone for a player whose career seemed destined to peter out because of fitness troubles. The US Open’s return to Pebble Beach must have Woods licking his lips; he won the event by 15 shots there in 2000 – as remains a tournament record – and was just three adrift of Graeme McDowell in 2010, just months after chaos had engulfed his personal life. The last 12 months proved that Woods can add a 15th major title to his CV. The third of the upcoming year provides ideal opportunity. EMAnthony Davis and LeBron James join forces Share on Twitter … we have a small favour to ask. More people, like you, are reading and supporting the Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we made the choice to keep our reporting open for all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford to pay. Whether we are up close or further away, the Guardian brings our readers a global perspective on the most critical issues of our lifetimes – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. We believe complex stories need context in order for us to truly understand them. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We hope you will consider supporting us today. We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism that’s open and independent. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. US sports Since you’re here… Support The Guardian Share on Messenger Boxingcenter_img Tennis MLB Share on WhatsApp features Reuse this content Baseball NBA Share on LinkedIn Read more Basketball Share via Emaillast_img