Wild American Gooner

When Sports Are More Than Just Sports

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My Thoughts on Evan Turner, James Rodriguez and Jake Peavy

I’ll get back to my Arsenal player previews tomorrow, but today I’d like to address a few topics from the rest of the sports world.

The news broke in the last few days that the Celtics have signed former number two overall pick Evan Turner. At first glance, this seems an especially strange free agent pickup considering what the Celtics are trying to do with their roster right now. With an already crowded backcourt, adding an easily disgruntled me-first shooting guard seems risky for a number of reasons. The Celtics need their young players to get playing time and they need them to feel comfortable shooting the ball. Turner, it would seem, could only hinder their progress. And with the team a long way away from competing, why would you pay someone relatively big bucks to block the team’s development?

However, I’ve learned to trust Danny Ainge’s judgement for the most part. Aside from Brian Scalabrine’s long-term deal, Ainge has generally done well in getting something out of players that have lost their way. Jordan Crawford was the prime example of such a player. Crawford took his lumps on a losing team, but rediscovered his game and earned himself a way out of town via trade, getting the Celtics a few more draft picks. Turner can be a similar type of project. If he plays, he’ll be able to get off a lot of shots on this team, as few players will take them from him. Then, he can reestablish his market value and the Celtics might be able to sell high on him in February. If he doesn’t play well, he can sit on the bench and watch James Young and Marcus Smart battle in front of him.

At the very least, Turner is someone who wants to score. Last year’s team was a little too pass-heavy at times, and the offense became rather predictable. On his day, Turner can contribute a triple-double. And players like that can attract fans to the TD Garden in a down year. Overall, I’m not quite sure what I think about the signing. It doesn’t seem to fit with the team’s philosophy on the court, but yet it seems strangely right up Ainge’s alley.

Moving to soccer, yesterday’s big news was the confirmation of Colombian World Cup star James Rodriguez’s big money move from Monaco to Real Madrid. By now we’re all quite familiar with the left-footed number 10, and his talent level is off the charts. He certainly is good enough to play for the biggest club in the world, and he’ll immediately form an incredible front 4 alongside Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. Add in Toni Kroos and Xabi Alonso/Luka Modric in midfield and that lineup is simply unbelievable. The scary part is that the players and their styles of play complement each other, unlike whatever Barcelona is trying to do with Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi.

This move would also seem to indicate the imminent exit of Angel di Maria and/or Isco. Both of these players are world-class, and it’s astounding that players such as these two who have proven themselves more than worthy of places in the side won’t be able to get on the field. Any team will be lucky to sign any of the unwanted Real Madrid castoffs, as they are all sensational talents. But for Madrid, however good they are, they are expendable now. In order to form super-teams, you need to be ruthless to improve great teams. And Carlo Ancelloti have certainly wielded the axe ruthlessly. I won’t want to face Real Madrid any time soon.

However, this move does call into question what FIFA’s Fair Play regulations actually do. How is it that Real Madrid can keep spending absurd sums to their heart’s content? I know they have sold a couple players, but the numbers don’t come close to matching.

Lastly, while I didn’t get to watch last night’s Red Sox game, I wanted to share a few thoughts regarding Jake Peavy. The former Cy Young winner contributed to last year’s World Series championship by bringing a winner’s mojo into the clubhouse upon his arrival at the trading deadline. Even if he didn’t win every time out, he was still bringing positive vibes to the mound. Now, a year after his arrival, everything has flipped. Whenever he pitches, there is bad karma everywhere. He hasn’t pitched well by any means, but it’s no coincidence that he has the worst run support and worst record in the league.

It’s time to get rid of that bad karma. Brandon Workman can fill his role in the rotation, so the Red Sox should take whatever they can get for Jake Peavy, even if it’s a quarter on the dollar. I’m not saying this because I dislike Peavy or think he is as bad as his 1-9 record. I just think the Sox can’t afford to lose their belief every fifth day. We’ll always have the championship with Peavy. And he’ll always have the duckboat. But the Red Sox don’t need to always have Jake Peavy losing games. It’s time for a change.

That’s all for today. Hope it’s a good one.