Stock Up/Stock Down takes a look at individuals/teams/trends/humans/mascots who for whatever reason have enhanced or hindered their stature in the sporting community.
Kansas City Chiefs
WOW. Kansas City might actually be a legitimate SuperBowl contender. They certainly looked like it after they took control of the 2nd quarter against Oakland on Thursday Night Football, moving to the top of a loaded AFC West division.
AFTER Mike Conley went down Grizzlies fans were crying in the streets, already lamenting another season lost to a treacherous injury plague. However, his injury and the absence of Zach Randolph and Chandler Parsons has somewhat galvanised Memphis together, as they have ripped off a six game winning streak to date and remain firmly in the top half of the Western Conference.
WHEN the Philadelphia 76ers traded for Ersan Ilyasova from the OKC Thunder for Jerami Grant many viewed the move purely as a tactical one. Through six games in December though the eight year vet has averaged 17.2 points and 8.2 rebounds a game, which considering the management of Embiid and Noel is incredibly helpful for this young Philly squad.
Image from nba.com
Ilyasova for MVP? Maybe not, but his play is definitely helping a youthful Sixers team stay on track.
Pittsburgh Steelers offense
ALL season we have feared what Pittsburgh can do on offense if they click. As Le’Veon Bell rushed for a Steelers record 236 yards on Sunday we now all know. There may not be a more lethal three man combo in the NFL than Bell, Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger. Beware, the Steelers are hitting their stride at the right time of year.
SOME of Seattle’s failures on Sunday can be credited to the Packers defensive line forcing Wilson to make mistakes, but Wilson did not play well regardless. He missed Jimmy Graham wide open for a TD at one point and through a career high five picks. If the Seahawks are going to be a SuperBowl threat they need to turn things around, and the visiting Rams this weekend is a perfect opportunity to rectify their issues.
Los Angeles Lakers
THERE was so much optimism and hope surrounding this Lakers team with their early season form. Granted injuries have played a small part in their recent slump, but with just two wins from their last 12 matches they need to recapture the vibe.
Image from silverscreenandroll.com
Since the LA Lakers won their Dec 1st matchup with the Bulls they have lost seven in a row.
WHILE the rest of their division are surging to the top of the AFC the Broncos seem to have taken a backwards step in the past few weeks. Their powerful defense can only carry them so far and we are seeing the reg flags with their inconsistent offense regularly now. Can they slide all the way out of the playoff race? This weekend the visiting Patriots may determine their fate.
GRANTED his lack of success isn’t entirely Mudiay’s fault. As I touched on previously the minute distribution in Denver is like a never-ending revolving door, with some younger guys struggling for touches and minutes. However, December has seen the 2nd year pro shoot 33% from the floor with his playmaking less than desirable (2.2 assists compared to 1.5 turnovers a night). He has the talent to redeem himself and with more court time I’m sure he can, for the time being though you can see why he is playing the bench.