Your Distraction From the Pain

Fun Fact of the Day:  NHL #2 draft pick Patrik Laine scored his second hat trick of the season, to help the Winnipeg Jets defeat the Dallas Stars 8-2. Through the first 14 games, Laine has scored 11 goals. The most by a player younger than 19 in NHL history.


Today’s Rundown

NFL 

Need someone to blame for the election?   New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady threw their support behind Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. At a campaign stop on Monday night, Trump read aloud a letter of support he received from Belichick and announced that Brady had voted for him. Brady’s support shouldn’t come as a huge shock, because he was spotted with a “Make America Great Again” hat last season. But the announcement may have surprised one person: his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen, who denied that Tom supported Trump just a few days ago. For his part, Brady is keeping his ballot a secret. 

How bad can Jared Goff be?  The Los Angeles Rams have lost their last 4 games, so you would think it would be time to try something/anything to turn things around. But for some reason, the Rams are planning to stick with their current QB Case Keenum, who has thrown 11 interceptions and only 9 touchdowns this season—the worst INT:TD ratio in the league. This seems particularly weird because the Rams have #1 draft pick, QB Jared Goff sitting on their bench. Fans are calling for Goff to start instead, but head coach Jeff Fisher said that they won’t start Goff unless they are mathematically eliminated from the postseason. At this rate, that shouldn’t be long.

 

NBA

A Jan Brady moment. This past Saturday, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George was ejected from a game against the Chicago Bulls for kicking a ball into the stands that hit a female fan in the face. The refs immediately ejected him from the game, and yesterday the NBA fined him $15,000. George kept it classy and not only apologized to the fan right away, but also sent her a bouquet of flowers.


Spotlight on the Los Angeles Lakers Turnaround

Last year, the Lakers were all about superstar Kobe Bryant’s farewell tour. They chalked up an abysmal 17-wins and didn’t bother to develop their young talent. But this season is a different story. They dumped their old head coach and hired former Golden State Warriors assistant coach, Luke Walton. So far, he’s already led the team to a respectable 4-4 record, including a blowout win over the Golden State Warriors. Here’s your spotlight on what Walton’s done to turn the team around.

What should I know about Luke Walton?  At age 36, Luke is the youngest coach in the league. As a player, he spent 10 seasons in the NBA, including winning 2 championships with the Kobe-led Lakers in 2009 and 2010. But he’s really hit his stride with coaching. Last season, he led the Warriors to 39-4 start, while head coach Steve Kerr was out with a back injury.

A balancing act. Walton has a reputation for his laid back style and his ability to bond with his players. His experience playing in the NBA has already helped him connect with the Lakers’ young core of D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Ingram. So far he’s set up an egalitarian system, where every player of them can shine; 5 different players have led the team in scoring and 6 different players have led the team in minutes.

Swaggy P reformed.  One great example of Walton’s impact has been on Nick “Swaggy P” Young. Last year, teammate D’Angelo Russell “pranked” Young by snapchatting a secret video of him talking about cheating on his then-fiance Iggy Azalea. Not a great gag. Just like his engagement, Young’s game fell apart and he was almost cut from the team. This year, Walton re-motivated Young by getting him to improve his defense—a part of his game that he hadn’t focused on before. Now, Young is on an upswing and has nothing but love for Walton: “Luke has been unbelievable. For him to give me a chance through everything, and for me to still be here, that’s great. I’m just gonna go out there and give him 100 percent every night.”