Moncrief the Future

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During the 2013 draft, Colts fans thought, “We’ve got to pick offensive lineman, Luck needs protection.”, and when the Colts selected Donte Moncrief in the 3rd round. The reaction was poor, and most were confused by the pick. At the time we had great wide receiver depth. Why pick another one?

Indianapolis has always had a ‘Pick the best player available’ philosophy. It has of course always payed off. The Colts have always drafted very well. It looks like they did again with Moncrief.

Donte stands at 6’3″ and 220 pounds. So hes not a huge wide receiver, but is bigger than most of the Colts wideouts ( Reggie Wayne, T.Y. Hilton). He clearly has the NFL speed, at 4.34. Interestingly enough, its the same 40 yard dash time that T.Y. Hilton recorded during the combine.

He proved his speed Sunday, and that he can beat slower DBs; with 2 long touchdowns of 48 and 79 yards. His total stats from Sunday game against the Redskins were; 134 yards, 3 receptions, and 2 touchdowns.

Moncrief could very quickly replace the struggling Hakeem Nicks as the number 3 receiver soon. Look for Donte to be getting more snaps and more targets in the coming weeks.

Pacers Sit at 1-6/ Stone Sports Report

Pacers Sit at 1-6
Stone Miller

1 and 6

The Indiana Pacers sit at the bottom of the Central division, they have a 1-6 record; and are the most injury prone team in basketball. They’ve got injuries to George Hill, David West, Rodney Stuckey, C.J. Watson, and C.J. Miles and for the time being Roy Hibbert. Miles and Hibbert should play tonight against the Utah Jazz; but that’s beside the point.
The Pacers have been in every game so far this season, they very well could’ve won each one. The losses usually come because of a lack of offense down the stretch. When the Pacers get George Hill and David West back they’ll get that extra push they need to win games. For now keep your eyes on Donald Sloan and Solomon Hill, the 2 young players who have showed potential and promise. Each of them having career games so far this year and showing they’ve learned something from the older players on the team; after riding the pine all last year. Otherwise the Pacers have some decisions to make on what to do about the team’s situation.
The Pacers front office sit at a crossroads, with a lot of cap room last season, and only 6 players officially under contract (2 with player options; David West, Roy Hibbert), they’ll have to go in one of 2 directions. The first direction (best), trade away players with expiring contracts and tank for a number one pick, then wait till the offseason to try and get a big name sign like Paul Millsap, Rajon Rondo and Goran Dragic. The other direction is to resign players on the current roster and look to make a run at a low playoff seed and in the offseason try to add minor pieces around Paul George.
The first option would be far better for many reasons; new young players, a possible big offseason sign, another star piece next to Paul George and a new look Pacers team. The negative side of this is our possible high round pick would be a bust, and no one else would sign with Indy. Those 2 events both taking place is highly unlikely, so it seems like a reasonable that the Pacers front office would take a shot at it.
The second option is far less appealing, but is safer. If Roy Hibbert picks up his player option this offseason that removes any worries of signing another Center, and would help keep some of the core team the Pacers already have. The issue with resigning some of these players is age, David West and Luis Scola have 3 to 4 years left, max. They likely are not players we want for the future, we need to rebuild the core with younger players so we do not get caught in the middle of the pack, as many franchises do.
To avoid any high-level risks I believe the Pacers take a look that’s in the middle ground. It would be smart for Roy Hibbert to pick up his 15 million dollar player option, because he might not get paid that much buy anyone else. So we should expect Roy back next season. David West should be traded to a title contender, possibly for draft picks or young players. This will free up cap space and give David West the shot he wants at a championship, it also helps the Pacers to make moves for the future.
Best case scenario the Pacers resign a few players on the current roster, get a big free agent sign to go along with Paul George and get a decent draft pick to develop.
Worst case scenario the Pacers try to make a playoff run, don’t get in and have to depend fully on free agent signs next year.
Either way the Pacers will be in good hands with one of the best front offices in the NBA. Donnie Walsh, Larry Bird and Kevin Pritchard. They will do whatever it takes to make this team better and make the trades that need to be made. Do not worry Pacers fans, the fate of Indiana lies in very capable hands.

Offensive Struggle Cost Pacers Game/Stone Sport Report

Offensive Struggle Cost Pacers Game
Stone Miller

pacer lost

The injuries are an obvious problem for the Pacers; with no David West, George Hill, and C.J. Watson; but it was no excuse for Tuesday’s loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Chris Copeland led the Pacers in scoring again, dropping 19 points; but also shot 6-15. Roy Hibbert yet again had another solid game and is (for now) the only consistently positively playing starter. He finished with a line of 16 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks. The large issue for the Pacers turnovers. They committed 19 turnovers; they Bucks took advantage of this and scored a whopping 28 points off of them.
The Pacers shot the ball very poorly Tuesday, 39% from the field, 25% from 3 and an absoutly awful 59% from the free throw line. The Bucks had a solid night overall, only committing 12 turnovers, compared to their average 21, and didn’t have trouble scoring the ball with 87 points on the night.
Brandon Night had himself quite a night scoring 23 points and dishing out 7 assists. He led the offensive tempo well on the fast break and helped spread the floor with his confident shooting. Larry Sanders lead his team with 10 rebounds, but however was held scoreless by Roy Hibbert.
The few positives from this game are the performances of Roy Hibbert and Solomon Hill. Solo scored a career high 12 points, posted 5 rebounds and 2 steals. He looked confident shooting the 3 and had a sweet spin move for a layup in the 4th quarter. Let’s hope Solomon becomes more confident; because he passed up many open shots and ended up turning the ball over 4 times. If Solomon Hill can improve this season that would really help the Pacers find more scoring options in the starting lineup. With a deeply struggling C.J. Miles and Luis Scola we could use the offensive help.
The Pacers will next face a 3-1 “new-look” Wizards team, and will try to grab a victory before heading out to 2 more games in the next 3 days. The Pacers badly need a confidence boost on the offensive side of the ball, hopefully they get the 3s popping early and often to get out in front of a Bradly Beal-less Wizards team.

Colts Vs. Giants Preview

Colts Vs. Giants Preview
Stone Miller

Colts vs Giants

Injury Report:
Colts:
D’Qwell Jackson LB; toe, probable
Erik Walden LB; hip, out
Reggie Wayne WR; eblow, probable
Giants:
Jason Pierre-Paul DE; shoulder, probable
Rashad Jennings RB; knee, out
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie CB; hamstring, questionable
Victor Cruz WR; torn meniscus; placed on IR

On Monday Night football the Indianapolis Colts will face off against a hurting Giants team. This is the perfect situation for Andrew Luck and his high-powered offense. The Giants are 25th in pass yards allowed per game and opposing offenses are scoring 24 points a game on them. Andrew Luck has been leading the league in almost all positive offensive quarterback categories and leads an offense that scores 31 points every week. The key for the Colts will be the run game and turnovers. The Colts will need to have a successful run game and take care of the football if they want to get Andrew Lucks first Monday Night win.
As for New York, they’re missing 2 offensive starters; Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings. However first round pick Odell Beckham Jr. has been great for the Giants and has become Eli Manning’s new favorite target. He might have some problems Monday though; he will be covered by Vontae Davis. Who missed last game with a knee contusion.
The Colts defense shouldn’t have any issues getting to the quarterback and stops on Monday night. Eli Manning has been sacked 13 times this season and has only converted on 41.2% of 3rd downs. Interestingly enough, the Colts lead the league in 3rd down conversions allowed with 28. This should be an easy win for Indianapolis. They’re better than the Giants in most aspects of football and are far healthier. The issue being it’s a road game on Monday Night football in New York it will be a loud crowd; unless The Colts get off to a quick start and score touchdowns in the first, opposed to settling for field goals.
Eli Manning has been prone in the past to throwing interceptions in the past; and likely will look to tight end Larry Donnell for a safer and shorter target. The Colts have allowed a lot of yardage to tight ends this season and will need to keep an eye on Donnell.
The Giants will are coming off a bye week and a loss 31-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. They will be well rested and ready to compete.
I predict a double digit Colts victory. With Vontae Davis, Reggie Wayne and Trent Richardson returning this week the defense and offense will see improvement from last week’s 51-34 loss to the Steelers. The Giants will put up some fight with fresh legs off of a bye week. I expect big games form Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton this week; considering that they’ve become the number one QB-WR combo so far this season and will look to do some more damage to an already struggling Giants secondary. Vontae Davis is the key player of the game for the Colts, he’ll need to slow down Odell Beckham Jr. or Rueben Randle this week. He should be 100% ready to go this week after a slight knee injury and will need to slow down Eli Manning and his receiving core. If the Giants want to win they’ll need to get to Andrew Luck and get some sacks; the offensive line has been struggling of late and they’ve got an opportunity this week. Eli Manning will need to have a great game if the Giants want a shot at beating the Colts.

Pacers Vs. 76ers Season Opener/Stone Sport Report

Pacers Vs. 76ers Season Opener
Stone Miller

Pacers Vs. 76ers Season Opener

Injury Report:
Pacers:
David West PF; out, ankle
George Hill PG; day-to-day, knee
C.J. Watson PG; out, foot
Rodney Stuckey SG; day-to-day, foot
76ers:
Micael Carter Williams PG; out, shoulder
Jason Richardson SG; out, foot fracture
Jeremi Grant SF; out, ankle

In the Pacers season opener they will be missed 3 key players. David West, Georg Hill and C.J.Watson; possibly for the first week of the season. They will be facing up against a very young and banged up Philadelphia 76ers team.
Indiana shouldn’t have too much trouble facing this group of youngsters, but I do expect a close game. Roy Hibbert will need to lead the offense and bring his defensive presence if they Pacers want to win their season opener. Hibbert was under much scrutiny last season; after having a bad second half of the season, and a few scoreless playoff games. This off season he worked with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and expects to drastically improve his offensive efficiency and confidence. He also lost 15 pounds to thin himself out a little to be more mobile and agile in the paint.
Donald Sloan will be starting at point guard for the Pacers; with C.J. Watson and George Hill out. He led the Pacers in scoring during and preseason, and will likely get increased minutes off the bench this season at the 2 guard and possibly running the offense.
The Pacers will falter a little more this season without Paul George there to guard every teams star. They should hold their own though. ‘SmashMouth’ basketball will not disappear and will most likely be seen even more this year. Defense will be important against the 76ers, as they have a lot of 3 point shooters and young talent.
As for Philadelphia they will struggle without MCW. He is out with a shoulder injury and is at this point their best player. Tony Wroten will be the player to look out for; he has a plethora of scoring ability and triple-double capabilities.
This should be a fun game to watch with K.J. Daniels and Nerlens Noel making their debuts. The Pacers will face a scoring challenge of sorts; but in the end the veterans will prevail. Luis Scola will be starting and might possibly lead us in scoring. Should be a low scoring game, but a Pacers victory to start the year off.

Colts Take a Pounding From Steelers/Stone Sport Report

Colts Take a Pounding From Steelers
Stone Miller

Colts get pounding steelers

Sunday many expected tough game; but a solid Colts performance. That was not the case this Sunday in Pittsburgh. Indy Started the game off with a quick field goal and things seemed to look easy; then the Steelers scored on a very quick drive on a touchdown to Markus Wheaton, when the Colts were playing zone defense (not sure why). Then before you know it the Steelers had the ball and scored yet another quick touchdown. 14-3, no worries. Next play Andrew Luck drops back; throws a pick-6. 21-3 Pittsburgh.
After this happening we find that Vontae Davis; who’s having the best year of his career, is out all game with a minor knee Injury. The Colts struggled on defense a lot after that. The defensive line did not bring and effective rush and didn’t sack Big Ben once. That partially had to do with his career game; 552 passing yards, 40-49 passes completed, and a whopping 6 touchdowns. You could very clearly tell that the Colts missed Vontae Davis dearly; Greg Toler could not handle the heavy workload that was handed to him and Greg Manusky made some strange adjustments trying to play zone defense.
Regardless of the many struggles of the first half; the Colts bounced back. Andrew Luck started blazing down the field in the second half; throwing a touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief in the second half, and Ahmad Bradshaw helped with a touchdown of his own. T.Y. Hilton had a great game catching 6 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown. Hakeem Nicks played 60 snaps but was only targeted 6 times. Donte Moncrief had the best game of his career and showed his breakout potential with 113 receiving yards.
As the Colts were in position to tie the game; the score 34-42. Indy was deep in their own territory, and Andrew Luck threw a pass towards Hakeem Nicks while standing in the end zone. The NFL referees just so happened to think he did actually target Nicks; and was called for an intentional grounding penalty; safety. This then destroyed the Colts hopes of a comeback and allowed the Steelers to get great field position and score another touchdown.
D’Qwell Jackson lead the Colts again in tackles with 13 and played a solid game. The Colts defense was the worst its been by far all season; allowing 639 yards.
The Colts will look to bounce back next week on Monday night football in New York against the Giants. Against a banged up Giants secondary things could get very interesting for Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

Colts Headed to Pittsburg For Week 7/Stone Sport Report

Colts Headed to Pittsburgh For Week 7
Stone Miller

Colts Pittsburgh

Injury Report:
Pittsburg:
Marcus Gilbert OT; concussion, out
Ryan Shazier LB; knee, probable
Shamarko Thomas SS; hamstring, questionable
Colts:
Reggie Wayne WR; elbow, out
Arthur Jones DE; ankle, probable (limited)
Darius Butler CB; ankle, probable
Jack Doyle TE; knee questionable
Trent Richardson RB; hamstring, questionable

The Indianapolis Colts will face one of the toughest tests of the season Sunday. The Pittsburgh Steelers have had a quality season so far; at 4-3 they sit in 2nd place in the AFC North division and are ready to take the lead. However the red hot Colts are ready to extend an incredible 5 game win streak to 6.
The Steelers are coming off 30-23 win of the Houston Texans; Big Ben leading them to victory again with 265 passing yards and 2 touchdowns. The Colts are coming off the best defensive performance all season by far; shutting the Bengals down. Not allowing a score and holding
Cinnci to 135 total yards of offense, overshadowing their 506 yard offensive performance.
This week things might get a little chippy; each team has a top 20 defense (Indy 7, Pitt 20), also they both have 2 QBs who are very hard to bring down. Andrew Luck should have yet another 300 yard game against this Steelers secondary who are 16th in the league I passing yards allowed and allow 23.1 points per game. I expect good ball movement downfield in the passing game, even without Reggie Wayne. Hakeem Nicks will need to step up more this game; for some reason he has not played a lot of recent but will have an opportunity to prove himself Sunday.
The Colts may succeed easily on offense but their defense will be challenged. The Steelers have a great balanced offensive attack. With Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount in the backfield running the football it will be tough to stop. They average 117.3 yards a game are effective in the ground-and-pound and speed run. Ben Roethlisberger has always been a threat against the Colts anytime they’ve played; he’s very difficult to bring down and has the best completion percentage in the league pressured.
Overall the Colts are better on both sides of the football. Indianapolis has the number one ranked defense on 3rd down. Only allowing 20 conversions on 3rd down, interestingly enough Pittsburgh is 15th in 3rd down conversions.
The Steelers and Colts both have great balanced attacks. Indy is first in the league in total yards with 3170, but Pittsburgh is not far behind with 2707 total yards. The winner of this game will be determined by who can make more crucial stops. The big thing for the Colts is taking advantage of scoring opportunities and turnovers. Last week they turned the ball over twice in a scoring opportunity or red-zone situation. If they want to win they’re going to have to take care of the football.
I predict the Colts will win in a close game, the scoring should be in the 20s, but Indy’s defense in the end will prevail. If Trent Richardson plays that should make things a little easier on Ahmad Bradshaw and Andrew Luck. T.Y. Hilton will be thrown the ball more due to Reggie Wayne’s elbow Injury; so expect a big game form him. Hakeem Nicks will have a breakout game Sunday and he will get a lot more targets, and solidify himself as the number 3 receiver. The Steelers should put up a solid fight and the number one worry I think is Le’Veon Bell, if he gets going there is no telling the damage he could do. I expect a good game.

Pacers Lose Ugly to the Wolves /Stone Sport Report

Pacers Lose Ugly to the Wolves
Stone Miller

Pacer Wolve

The Pacers found themselves struggling on the offensive end in the first half. With a halftime score of 52-38, they found themselves embarrassed so far by a very young Timberwolves team.
Not a lot of positives came from this game; but Roy Hibbert did play his best game so far this preseason. He shot 5-10 from the field, scored 14 points and grabbed 9 rebounds. Also was efficient in rim protecting as usual, with 3 blocks. Those might be the averages you’ll see from him this year. You can tell he has lost some weight so that he could be more mobile and move about the court easier. Last season he was pretty slow and put on a lot of muscle weight. Things changed this offseason; he worked with hall-of-fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and looks to improve his confidence and overall big man skills. We should expect a big season from him.
The final score to this game was a little better than expected; 107-89. Still a pretty bad loss. Offensive inefficiency and turnovers cost the Pacers this game. They finished with 20. Indiana will need to cut down on turnovers with they want to put together a quality season.
Donald Sloan was another bright spot, he scored 19 points in 28 minutes. He also shot 3-4 from 3 point range which is the area of his game that has greatly improved. He’ll look to earn a larger spot in the rotation and maybe play shooting guard more.
The Pacers will face off in their next game against the Charlotte Hornets; Lance Stephenson’s new team. Their first regular season game will be on October 19th against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Pacers Vs. Hornets/Stones Sport Report

Pacers Vs. Hornets
Stone Miller

Pacers vd Hornets

July 16, 2014 Lance Stephenson turned down a 5 year $44 million deal from the Pacers; he later accepted a 3 year $27 million deal form the Charlotte Hornets. Jaws dropped in Indianapolis, from Larry Bird to your average fan, shocked. Many question why he left; was it Chemistry? Shots? Role? Money? What? No one can be sure, here a theory; the new luxury tax goes up in a few years. He signed a lesser deal because he thinks he can get a big max contract when the time comes. We shall see.
Tonight the Pacers will be facing off against Stephenson’s new team; the Charlotte Hornets. It will be each team’s last preseason game and sadly Lance Stephenson will not be playing against his old team due to a groin injury.
This might be the last game you see C.J. Fair, Adonis Thomas, Arinze Onuaku or Chris Singleton in Pacers uniforms. All of them are possible cuts that Frank Vogel will make. My guess is they will keep Fair; he’s young, athletic and has some potential, and could be used on the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
The Pacers still have some things to clean up before the season begins; number one on the list is lowering turnovers and increasing ball movement. Likely both of those will not improve greatly tonight, but one would be good. If we take care of the basketball more, that will lead to more offense and more time to settle in and share the basketball.
Donald Sloan has been a pleasant surprise this preseason; he leads the team with 13.8 points per game and has been great running the offense and scoring at 2 guard. That could help the Pacers bench a lot, if he can be an efficient scorer that changes things for the Pacers bench.
Overall I think the Pacers have performed well when the starters have played; our record this preseason is only 2-4 but I think the team has gotten comfortable around each other and have formed a chemistry ready for the regular season.
Tonight the Pacers will look to build the chemistry more as they face the Charlotte Hornets tonight at 7:00 P.M. Eastern Time.

NBA Fantasy Draft/ Stones Sport Report

NBA Fantasy Draft

Stone Miller

Golden State Warriors v Utah JazzNBA Fantasy 2

Often in a fantasy drafts people look at the average points, rebounds or assists per game. This isn’t always a bad thing to look at the ESPN projections, but we need to go deeper statistically. We need to look at turnovers, and shooting percentage. Yet projections are often helpful they should only truly be used in the first few rounds, also depending upon the amount of knowledge you have of the NBA.

If we are looking for players who turn the ball over very little, we should start at power forward. In this day and age, power forwards rule the NBA; athletic, good mid-range shot, great power post moves, a lot of shot opportunities and great rebounders. My top recommendations would Anthony Davis, Serge Ibaka, Lamarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin and Kevin Low. These players make smart offensive decisions, have good mid-range jumpers and take high percentage shots.

Some lower round picks I would target at power forward would be David Lee, Derrick Favors, Kenneth Faried, Thaddeus Young and Terrence Jones. Obviously these aren’t guaranteed all-star-caliber picks but have potential for big seasons.

In the past I’ve gone for a best player available at the position I need or want, and it’s often failed me. Then I started stressing on picking a good point guard and power forward. And it bodes well for me, due to the shot selection and small amount of mistakes they make.

Next we have point guard. Today almost every team in the league has a solid point guard, If not a star. They are plentiful in the draft, but I prefer to pick them in the first or second rounds. Chris Paul and Stephen Curry are the two you should look for. They have the ability to go for huge offensive games, and will more than likely average double digit assists. The advantage to Chris Paul being the defense. He normally average about 2 steals a game or more, which is usually a league leading.

Some possible lower round pick point guards who really could help your fantasy team if you didn’t pick an elite point guard. Michael Carter-Williams, Reggie Jackson, Jrue Holiday are my lower round recommendations and should be improved from last season.

I’m not going to tell you to overlook small forwards, shooting guards or centers, but try out this strategy. It should bode very well for you and create a good opportunity for you to win you league or at least compete.