the NFL the offseason is officially launched, while NBA the campaign is in full swing.
And that means several players, coaches and even general managers are finding themselves under duress this week as the schedule is about to swing into March.
FOX Analyst Chris Brossard combined his knowledge of football and basketball, exposing the five people he thinks are under the most pressure right now, which he revealed on “First of all.”
Five NBA and NFL personalities ‘under duress’
Chris Broussard names five sports personalities who are most under duress this week.
Let’s dive into Broussard’s list.
5. james lebronF, Los Angeles Lakers
Perspectives : The “King” had a moment of glory last weekend when he returned to Cleveland as part of the NBA All-Star festivities. He was the undisputed focal point of the event and greeted the celebratory occasion (which included his induction into the League’s Top 75 clubs) with the game-winning shot to seal a win for Team LeBron.
But in the games that matter, James’ unit hasn’t performed particularly well. The Lakers haven’t put out a consistent mark of game-winning basketball at any time this season, and their mediocrity has them teetering on the brink of playoff elimination if they don’t pull themselves together quickly. The effort begins and ends with James.
Broussard’s thoughts: “His running mate Anthony Davis is injured, so LeBron James has to wear them. Can he stay healthy? none of the previous superstars – [Shaquille O’Neal]Kobe [Bryant]Magic [Johnson]Karim [Abdul-Jabbar] – have been. There was even a report that said the Lakers should trade LeBron James. Let’s see how he handles the pressure in the coming weeks.”
4. Brian Gutekunst, Managing Director, Green Bay Packers
Perspectives : Aaron Rodgers has been dominating NFL headlines as his offseason has begun. All eyes are on Green Bay in anticipation of what the enigmatic QB is up to. And while his influence on the situation could have enormous swaying power when it comes to Rogers, the Packers general manager Gutekunst has largely slipped under the radar throughout the ordeal. Gutekunst doesn’t necessarily have an overflow in his favor, and Rodgers has unveiled a high asking price, but Gutekunst could very well determine whether Rodgers stays with the team.
Broussard’s thoughts: “His superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers says, ‘Yeah, he said after the season if I want out, they’ll trade me. Gutekunst says, “I never said that.” Aaron Rodgers says, “I want to see what they do with Davante Adams.” Gutekunst says, ‘Aaron Rodgers must be the first domino to fall.’ Not to mention Aaron Rodgers who wanted $50 million, my God. If Aaron Rodgers wants a trade, where does Gutekunst send him? Is he doing what’s best for the Packers, or sending him where Aaron wants to go?
3. James HardenG, Philadelphia 76ers
Perspectives : Although he did not officially request treatment out of Brooklyn, Harden’s displeasure with his status there was unmistakable. And though he got his wishes after being shipped off to Philadelphia as part of the blockbuster trade deadline deal, Harden remains a superstar enigma. The City of Brotherly Love now represents its third home in as many years, and many wonder if its Championship woes are simply down to its own shortcomings.
Harden’s first offer as a Sixer was exceptional: 27 points, 12 assists and eight boards in 35 minutes. And Joel Embiid was completely impressed, exclaiming after the match: “I’ve never been so open in my life!” First impressions are everything, and Harden has impressed with his, but can he and Embiid claim their excellence in June basketball?
Broussard’s thoughts: “Did James Harden move too soon? Now that we know Kyrie Irving is expected to play home games in the near future, should Harden just relax, relax and then three weeks from now – He’s a “Big 3” in Brooklyn. He left that “Big 3” which was 13-3 – and looked phenomenal when they were together – to now join the “Big 2″… His role for to be even bigger. I think he liked the idea of [Kevin Durant] take the big hit. Kyrie can take the big hit. Now Joel Embiid can take the big hit, but you’re going to have to do it too.”
2. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Perspectives : He continues to reap individual accolades, earning his second straight MVP award a few weeks ago, but his regular-season greatness hasn’t translated into playoff success. For the second season in a row, Rodgers and the Packers won first place in the NFC, and for the second season in a row, they failed to reach the Super Bowl. Now, with a string of playoff losses marring his recent legacy, Rodgers faces perhaps the biggest decision of his career as an uncertain future looms.
Broussard’s thoughts: “Everyone in the NFL is focused on Aaron Rodgers. What’s he going to do? Will he retire? Will he go back to Green Bay? Will he ask for a trade? Will he $50 million? He hasn’t been questioned as much as he is now. Now we’re really wondering: Is this guy just a regular season phenom? There are reports that even in the Green Bay organization they’re saying, ‘Is that the same guy in January and February that he’s in the regular season?’ So a lot of pressure no matter what he does. “he stays, can he lead Green Bay to the Super Bowl? If you go to the AFC, do you really want to face all these guys? If you retire, well you’ve been great individually, but it’s been a long time since ‘we didn’t see you at the Super Bowl.”
1. Ben SimmonsPG, brooklyn nets
Perspectives : The Nets and Sixers pulled off one of the biggest NBA trades in recent memory, and the Brooklyn front office is hoping Simmons is the missing piece. He is expected to thrive playing in a system in which he will not be asked to score, but instead play a locked defense and distribute the ball to Durant. It’s been more than two weeks since that deal was announced, and it’s still unclear when Simmons will make his Nets debut. The NBA world is ready to see the Nets’ new “Big 3” of Simmons, Durant and Irving in action.
Broussard’s thoughts: “The good news is that Ben looks great on the bench in street clothes with his new teammates. I watched him last night against Boston, and he looked good. comfortable, calm and collected. The bad news is that Ben looks comfortable, and calm and collected in street clothes next to his new teammates. I want to see you there on Monday playing for the Nets. I definitely want to see you in Philadelphia on March 10. It’s a game… that the pressure is going to be on. How does he handle it? If he doesn’t play, or if he melts and goes is collapsing and it’s clearly affecting him so what are we looking at for the rest of the season for the Nets? If he’s playing and he’s playing great then what are we looking for? He’s going to be at his best, and that would bode well for the Nets and possibly have ramifications in the championship.
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