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The Waterboy's Diary - By Bart Wilson

NBA Finals

Dear Diary,


The team finally pulled out a victory last night and now move on to play the Nuggets for a chance to win another championship for the 305. Boston was a worthy opponent, but to think that they would come back being down 3-0 was wishful thinking. I had to increase my liquid intake from the amount of sweat I accumulated during their comeback.


Now that the series is over, I feel like I can breathe for a little bit, but it won’t be for long. Once it hits June 1st, we’re off to the races again with the Denver Nuggets who swept their Western Conference Finals opponent. They have been foaming at the mouth to get the series started especially with how Nikola Jokic has been playing in the post season. Jokic is averaging 29 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists per game this post season. Then add in Jamal Murray who’s averaging 27 points per game along with the rest of their starting lineup who are also averaging double digit points.


The 8th seeded Heat will have to be extremely physical in their defensive schemes by doubling up Jokic. On the offensive side of the ball Butler will need to collapse to the boards to draw a foul hopefully from Jokic. If the Heat can get Jokic into foul trouble they may have a chance, but if they repeat what they did during the Celtics series I don’t see a championship in Miami’s future. Plus, Tyler Herro will be out until Game 3 of the NBA Finals due to an injury.


Do we have a chance to win another championship? Sure, but if I was going to bet on this series, I would say Denver has the upper hand. Don’t tell anyone I said that at the facility, but the Heat do not have enough fire power to compete. I could see us pull out maybe one win, but other than that the Nuggets may have this one in the bag. I might need to find some of Michael Jordans “Secret Stuff” that helped the Looney Tunes beat the Monstars.

LeBron James

Dear Diary,

The season has come to an end after last night’s last-ditch effort to keep the series alive against the Nuggets. LeBron put his all into this game finishing with 40 points, 9 assists, and 10 rebounds to get the series to a game 5. Now that the season is over, will LeBron finally call it quits.

James has been in the league for 20 seasons starting back in 2003 when he was selected number one overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He spent seven seasons with the Cavaliers and during that time the team would make it to several Eastern Conference Finals and one NBA Finals appearance. After his time in Cleveland, James moved on to the Miami Heat, making it to the finals four years in a row and would win two championships. Then it was back to Cleveland in 2014 and two years later James would hoist the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy beating the Golden State Warriors after being down 3-1 in the series. James spent a couple more seasons with the Cavaliers and then went to the Los Angeles Lakers. Once again James would find success and win another championship in 2020.

From 2003 to now James has also been a four-time Finals MVP, thirteen-time All-NBA 1st Team, five-time All-Defensive 1st Team, All Rookie 1st Team, three-time All-Star MVP, four-time MVP, and Rookie of the Year. On top of that James became the all-time leading scorer in NBA history accumulating 38,652 points and fourth for assists with 10,420. The impact he has had in the NBA has been legendary.

Whatever James decides to do is within the best interest of his health and well-being. Not a lot of players can stay in the league for 20 seasons and be able to perform the way he does day in and day out. All I know is that he has cemented himself onto the Mount Rushmore of NBA legends. It was an honor and privilege to be his waterboy through the good times and bad times. I want to wish him well with whatever decision he makes for the future.

Za'Darius Smith

Dear Diary,


The 2023 NFL schedule for the team was released last week on Thursday and the very next day we beefed up our defense. Vikings defensive end Za’ Darius Smith was traded to the Browns to compliment starter Myles Garrett on the other side of the line. It comes to me as a surprise because Smith signed a three-year contract with the Vikings for $42 million last spring.


Now, this will put Smith into the starting lineup instead of the newly gained Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. I still think he will get playing time because of his caliber of play, but with Smith now on the roster his on field time will be limited. Smith is coming off a somewhat strong season where he recorded 32 solo tackles, 10 sacks, and 12 assists. The only concern the team should think about is the injury Smith sustained, a chronic knee injury last season that affected his play.


The team also got two picks out of this trade for a sixth and seventh round for the 2025 draft. In return, the Vikings received a couple of fourth and fifth round picks for the 2024-25 draft. I think this is going to be the problem for the Browns for several years to come when filling out roster spots. The Deshaun Watson deal has hindered the team’s ability to restructure its lineup.


I think for the foreseeable future the team will have to either trade or release players to make these roster moves until they can finally use the draft again. I know I’m going off topic, but this relates to everything the team has done so far since the 2022 season ended. Will this strategy work for the next couple of years? I guess we will have to wait and see. I am going to need to be extra hydrated when training camp rolls around. It will be a long preseason for the team.

Bronny James Signs with USC

Dear Diary,


Cleveland royalty is heading to our humble abode of the University of Southern California. That’s right, Bronny James is going to be a Trojan after playing high school ball at Sierra Canyon School. It’s hard to come up with a sentence to explain the pure joy I’m feeling right now, but I need to get my head straight.


The No. 19 prospect in the ESPN 100 class of 2023 and McDonald’s All American will have a lot to prove when joining the Trojans. The positive for James is that his mentor has been a big help (i.e., LeBron James). He is one of the top five-point guards in the country. James also won’t have to worry about money heading into college after racking up the highest NIL deal making $5.9 million, according to On3. Some sponsors attached to James are Beats by Dre and Nike.


James will join a USC team that went 22-11 last season, finishing second in the PAC-12 and losing in the first round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. He will back up Senior Boogie Ellis, who averaged 17 points a game for the Trojans. It will be interesting to see how head Coach Andy Enfield will implement James into the rotation. That’s if he plays in the coming season, but all signs point to him playing. Heck, right now ESPN has him projected to go 10th overall in next year’s NBA Draft if he plays one season with Trojans.


This is an exciting time if you’re a college basketball fan because this will be the first time a James will play college basketball. All I know is that I will cherish every single moment and make sure he gets the coldest of waters when resting on the bench.

Cleveland Browns Draft Picks

Dear Diary, 


It’s been almost a week since the 2023 NFL Draft, and I feel like now is the time to reflect on the Browns picks. This will probably be a longer diary entry because I want to talk about each pick and the potential impact it could have on the team. 


To kick things off, the Browns selected Cedric Tillman (a wide receiver out of Tennessee) in the third round for their first pick. Now, this pick makes sense because the team is trying to build up their receiving core. The team could only hang their hats on Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and David Njoku. By adding Tillman, it will give Watson another weapon to use along with Elijah Moore and Marquise Goodwin who were also recently added. 


Next, we have Siaki Ika, defensive tackle out of Baylor. After the news about Perrion Winfrey’s legal issues, there is no surprise that the Browns picked another defensive tackle in the draft. He will probably back up the newly gained Dalvin Tomlinson but will probably see some action this season. Also, the young defensive tackle had 30 quarterback pressures over two seasons at Baylor, according to ESPN. 


In the fourth round, the team picked the largest offensive linemen in the draft. That would be Dawand Jones, out of Ohio State, with a height of 6’8 and weighing 374 pounds. If you want a guy to protect the quarterback, this would be the guy to do that. He might not see a lot of playing time because of Jack Conklin and James Hudson III, but he could be a starter soon. 


The next pick we had in the fourth round was Isaiah McGuire, defensive end out of Missouri. This was done to add more depth to the defensive line after losing Jadeveon Clowney in the offseason due to differences of opinion with the team. Will McGuire impact the team? That is a question yet to be answered. 


Entering the fifth round, I wasn’t sure what we would do because a lot of our positions were well covered. Well, the team picked Dorian Thompson-Robinson, quarterback out of UCLA, to add a fourth player to that position. We already have Watson, Joshua Dobbs, and Kellen Mond. I’m not sure why we need another quarterback unless they decide to part ways with Mond. Who knows, this could be a miraculous pick, but for right now it’s a head scratcher. 


The next pick we took was another cornerback out of Northwestern, Cameron Mitchell, who went to the same school as Greg Newsome II. This adds more depth to our cornerback room because, as many of you know, Denzel Ward and Newsome get injured a decent number of times during the season. It will fill in an empty spot after the team traded Greedy Williams. 


Lastly, the team picked another offensive lineman out of Ohio State, Luke Wypler, who played center for the Buckeyes. Wypler will have to compete with Nick Harris and Michael Dunn to back up Ethan Pocic. Adding more depth to this position isn’t surprising because Pocic is prone to injury, especially last season. 


Overall, I think the team had a lot of safe picks that filled out the necessary spots we needed to fill out on the depth chart. A couple of players that could make a difference on the team could be Tillman, Jones, and Ika. For the rest of the draft class, we’ll have to wait and see. Given all the Browns ups and downs, it will probably be another interesting season for me to watch as I keep everyone hydrated.



Cleveland Cavaliers

Dear Diary,
Tonight, is a make-or-break moment for the team. It’s been six years since the Cavaliers have been to the playoffs and we’re possibly going to get knocked out after the first round. We’re losing to the New York Knicks! The Knicks! I know I’m getting heated but their best player, Jalen Brunson, is averaging 24 points in the postseason after having a subpar career with the Mavericks. On top of that, his supporting cast is RJ Barrett and John Randle. I’m not trying to knock down any of these guys, but the Cavaliers should wipe the floor with them.

I think what’s hindering them is the ability to play on the road. This season, the Cavaliers were 20-21 on the road compared to a 31-10 record at home. The team also has a lot of players who have never played in the post-season - Evan Mobley, Darius Garland, and Isaac Okoro. This is also a young team when you take out Donovan Mitchell, Robin Lopez, Danny Green, and Ricky Rubio. 

So, what are we going to do tonight? 

I think they really can’t change anything up because if you look at the stats for the past 4 games, they’re the same compared with the Knicks. The only thing the Cavaliers have going for them is that it’s at home and ESPN is predicting them to win tonight with a 57.9% chance. Now, I’m not a betting man, but I think this series could continue to a game 6 and then it’s up to the Cavaliers to get it to game 7 while on the road. That’s if I’m looking ahead. We are really going to need the Cleveland faithful to make a lot of noise tonight. I will be extra prepared tonight to fulfill everyone’s hydration needs. 


Tampa Bay Rays

Dear Diary,

Well, we finally lost this season. It was bound to happen at some point, right? Nothing stays perfect forever unless you play college football or basketball. The team was so close to claiming the second spot in MLB history with the most wins while being undefeated. We tied with the 1982 Braves and 1987 Brewers for second place, but still standing atop the leader board is the 1884 St. Louis Maroons of the Union Association who went 20-0, according to ESPN.

Should the team be panicking right now after our first loss? No, because that’s what happens in the MLB. There are plenty of games to play this season, but since that first loss, we have only won 2 of our last 5 games. Plus, the teams that we beat were last or second to last in their leagues. That could be a problem for us when we inch closer to playing the Yankees who are behind us in second place for the AL East.

Now, I don’t want to sound like a Debbie Downer since we finally lost and think all hope is gone. I want to focus on some positives that have happened so far this year. Like, Randy Arozarena currently has a .306 batting average and is tied in 3rd place in the MLB for most RBIs with 17. We also have an extremely talented Wander Franco on the team that has accumulated 13 RBIs and 4 HRs. Then we have Shane McClanahan who has been performing really well with a 1.57 ERA and 27 strikeouts. While Drew Rasmussen has recorded a 2.60 ERA and 19 strikeouts. As the season continues, if we win or lose, the start to this new season was outstanding. Right now, I just want to make sure the guys are well hydrated, so they can perform to the best of their ability.

Jeff Okudah

Dear Diary,

This week has been so exciting within the Falcons organization. We finally added some more talent to our struggling defense. Jeff Okudah is a great addition to this organization and makes our other additions well worth the money we have spent. Adding Okudah is going to help us with pass protection even though he has been injured for most of his career. He may be shaky coming into the new season, but this guy is a competitor. He did still make an impact on the Lions defense last season recording 59 solo tackles, which means he can make things happen when stuck in open space. He’ll need those type of skills if he wants the starting job because Casey Hayward currently sits atop the leader board in the right Corner Back position. By adding Okudah to the roster it will make our defense even stronger with new teammates Safety Jessie Bates III (Bengals), Defensive Linemen Calias Campbell (Ravens), Defensive Linemen David Onyemata (Saints), and Linebacker Kaden Ellis (Saints). I was getting so tired of how we played as a defense last season by giving up an average of 360 yards of offense per game. That also included how poorly we defended the passing game by letting our opponents throw for over 230 yards a game, and don’t even get me started on the running game. It made sense that our defense was ranked 27th in the league because we just couldn’t compete whenever the opposing team had the ball. That’s why so many games that our offense kept us in were spoiled by how poorly the defense would try to defend our lead. Now, is the time to turn the tables and the Falcons have a legit chance to rise within the NFC South. You look at the other competitors within the division and see the Buccaneers, Panthers, and Saints. The Falcons have a very good chance to either be first or second because all of those have either lost a key player or need one. This all depends on if the team can gel with each other and if Desmond Ridder can step up on offense and make some big plays utilizing Drake London and Kyle Pitts. I think we are heading in the right direction and I’m not going to say that this team is playoff ready, but they have the potential to be a playoff team in a couple of seasons. Falcon football might be on the rise since that devastating loss in the Super Bowl. This is a step in the right direction.


2023-05 | 2023-04


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