Anthony Davis is Back. Let’s Celebrate with Nicknames.

AD

Y’all. Y’ALL. Basketball season is already back! While we’ve been distracted by the chaos of both college and professional football, and an actually entertaining baseball postseason, the NBA season begins tonight. While there are only three games on tonight, one of those games brings great news: Anthony Davis is back.

The Pelicans’ first overall draft pick in 2012 is entering his third season in the NBA. I’m sure most of us remember what he did last year, but let’s run it back because WOW, MAN, HE IS AMAZING. Our sweet prince threw out these per-game averages in 2013-14: 20.8 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.3 steals. Anthony was fourth in the NBA in player efficiency rating, putting a 26.5 PER. Keep in mind that Davis couldn’t buy a Budweiser to celebrate his dopeness until March 11 of this year. Let’s go ahead and make a list of all the players in NBA history who posted a higher Win Share in their age-20 seasons than Anthony Davis’s 10.4: LeBron James (14.3) and Magic Johnson (10.5). That’s it. When he’s already putting himself in that kind of company, you need a permanent morphine injection to not be excited for this season. (Hat tip to ESPN Stats & Info for that nice stat on age-20 Win Shares)

With the improvement that we saw from Year One to Year Two, as well as what we saw from Anthony during the FIBA Wold Cup this summer, it’s fair to assume Anthony will nudge himself into the truly upper echelon of NBA players. He may still be a notch below the LBJ/KD tier, but that’s it. It’s those two and then AD, at the least. If the Pelicans stay healthy and play better than expected, we’re talking about Anthony being a true MVP candidate. And this isn’t homerism. Every person who watches basketball is predicting Anthony is the next One in line, even if he doesn’t quite reach LeBron or Durant this year. Don’t believe me? Hear it from the human cheat code himself:

Durant, a friend of Davis and a teammate on the USA team that won gold at the 2012 Olympics, explained that his return text was simply a recognition of Davis’ sky-high promise and potential. The 6-foot-10, 238-pounder was one of the league’s most improved players in 2013-14, averaging 20.8 points, 10.0 rebounds and a league-leading 2.8 blocks.

“I know how good he’s going to be,” the four-time NBA scoring champion said, after a USA Basketball practice. “I know how good he is now, but I know how good he’s going to be. He’s an MVP-caliber player. So he’s next. He’s next in line – a guy that has grown so much in just a year. I’m excited to see what he does from here. He’s definitely on pace.”

I literally know one person who isn’t expecting greatness out of Anthony Davis. He’s my oldest friend, and he really watches a lot of basketball and knows it well. He’s the only person who doesn’t think Davis will be a league MVP one day. Of course, he’s a Mavericks fan, so I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he’s in denial.

Well, now that we’ve established that Anthony Davis is the bee’s knees and is going to turn this season into an 82-game interpretive performance of Run the Jewels 2, we have to go about giving him a nickname. Of course, there’s the Brow. It’s been around for as long as we’ve known him, and I appreciate him sticking to his guns. Very brand of him. We don’t have to discard the Brow name, but it doesn’t hurt to throw out a few more for him. Another friend has taken to calling Anthony DOW. I was perplexed at first, but he explained that it’s an acronym for Destroyer of Worlds, which is what multiple people have been calling Anthony. Does it fit? I mean, you watch this shit and tell me.

Yeah, I think DOW is a pretty goddamn fitting name. Also, here is a nice tidbit. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 12,880.09 on June 29, 2012, the day after Anthony officially joined New Orleans.Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 12.45.52 AM

Now? 16,897.39, BITCH. Do you think that’s a coincidence? Yeah, me neither. Based on what I expect DOW to do this year in the NBA, here’s my expectation for the Dow Jones next year at NBA tipoff: 3 HUNNA THOUSAND MILLION. ANTHONY DAVIS SINGLEHANDEDLY SKYROCKETING OBAMA’S APPROVAL RATING INTO THE (SUITS AND) FORTIES. CHI-TOWN ALWAYS GOT YOU, BARACK.

So, DOW is a great name. Nothing wrong with taking it and running with it. I’ll use DOW every now and then because it’s so fun. But me, I think I’ve got one that I think fits AD even better. I’m going to start calling Anthony Davis “Altron.” If you don’t know what Altron is then you can go all the way to Russia, you freedom-hating fascist. Here, lemme show you what Altron is.

(SIDEBAR: You’ll notice that video is titled “altron gundam the green dragon 1.” Does that mean that there are two other videos Altron made by this same person? You bet your sweet ass there are. Are the other two videos also scored by Godsmack’s “I Stand Alone?” OF COURSE THEY ARE.)

In case you’re still a bit lost, Altron is the big robot thing blowing up all the other big robot things. See, Altron is a mobile suit Gundam from Gundam Wing, an excellent anime that made the Gundam franchise popular in the United States. Altron is an update of another Gundam, but most importantly for what we’re doing, one of Altron’s signature armaments are his Dragon Fangs that extend from the mobile suits arms and destroy other mobile suits in hand-to-hand combat. Remind you of anything?

Yeah, thought so. The more I watch Anthony and Altron back to back, the more I get each confused. Monty Williams’s suits in the background is the only way to distinguish one form the other at this point. Seriously, somebody help me out here.

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THEY ARE ONE IN THE SAME. ALL HAIL ALTRON-THONY DAVIS, MORTALS.

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So, those are some new, fun names we can call AD. Some will always call him Brow, some will call him the DOW and others will break rhyme scheme and call him Altron. Soon, enough, we’ll all have a nickname we can all agree on: MVP.

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If strickland can chill, the Giants still got this

As a Giants fan who sit in front of his TV yelling all kinds of profanity as Hunter Strickland and the rest of the bullpen collapsed I can officially say that I ain’t trippin on the game two loss to the Royals. Its a bad look when the pitching staff collapses in the World Series but I wouldn’t bet on it happening again as the series continues.

Heading into game three we’ve had more than enough time to figure put who these teams are. The Royals are a team built around pitching and speed on the base paths. They are the prototypical small ball team that led the league in stolen bases during the regular season and has a bunch of flame throwers in the bullpen.

The Giants were supposed to be a small ball team on opening day then a bunch of weird shit happened. The pitching and defense model that had won this team championships in 2012 and 2010 had to be altered when Matt Cain was lost to a season ending elbow injury. Then we lost hope that Lincecum could be a viable starter. The power threats of Michael Morse and Brandon Belt spent Significant time on the DL. So at various points in the year, starters were moving in and out of the rotation, a big part of the power threat was missing and the team was schizophrenic from start to finish. Luckily it doesn’t matter how weird your season was as long as you sneak in as a wildcard team.

But, despite the weirdness of the season the formula for winning baseball is just as clear for the Giants as it is for the Royals. Both teams need to get runners on base, manufacture three or four runs a game, get six or seven good innings from the starting pitcher and shorten the game by handing it over to the bullpen.

Meaning that if this series looks like any other games either of these two teams has played this season we can safely say that games one and two of this series were weird. James Shield looked shook from the jump in game one and Hunter Strickland in game two…I don’t even know what to say about that cat. How are you gonna consistently give up home runs throwing 98 MPH fastballs down the middle of the plate and keep throwing that pitch? And then he had the nerve to stand there and cuss out Omar Infante  and Salvador Perez after he got taken deep in 6th inning of game two.

What are you mad about, dawg? Because when I was throwing my remote across the room I knew exactly what had me heated. I was mad that the pitcher who everyone was anointing as the next closer was doing exactly what closer shouldn’t do; give up home runs in pressure situations. You can’t throw batting practice fastballs and get mad when a major leaguer takes you deep. Someone needs to keep him away from the coffee pot until he starts looking more like closer out there.

I’m not sure how confident I’ll be if I see him out there again but I’m not worried about the rest of this bullpen. Like I said, we know what this bullpen is made of and we know they can shorten a game real quick. And the Royals can do the same. Even with the winner of the first two games scoring seven runs I don’t expect to see a run total that high the rest of the series. The Royals are gonna need to steal bases and drive runners from scoring position. And that means low run totals. The Giants are gonna need to do the same but since they lack the speed of the Royals, the Giants are gonna need to get more power from Buster Posey and the other guys in the middle of the line up.

Massive pitching failures served as the turning points in the first two games but if these teams play like how they’ve been playing the game should come down to who’s bullpen can shut it down in the late innings. The Royals apparently have a bunch of dudes who throw 95+ MPH for fun and the Giants have faux closer who they can’t trust and a former Cy Young award winner who has messed up back and a stomach problem. But if the short revilers get the outs they’ve been getting and Linceum can have a repeat of 2012 where he was struglelicous as a starter but lights out as middle reliever then I like this teams chances.

But I don’t even feel like analyzing this any more. I’m drinking the home town Kool Aid and I got the Giants winning all of these home games, taking the series and giving me an excuse to party in the streets in a week. I had to catch the last two world series victory parades in the from of highlights on Sportscenter since I was stuck in New Orleans getting a degree in journalism or something so now’s not the time to start coming up short in the Fall Classic.

And if they fail, I’m gonna have to challenge Hunter Strickland to one of those awkward baseball fights where we stand 100 feet away from each other while the rest of dugout holds us back even though neither of us are about to throw a punch.

J.J. Watt, Football’s Bahamut

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J.J. Watt is very good at football. Anybody who watches him for at least three plays knows this. But this motherfucker is getting out of hand. He is becoming a threat to society through just how thoroughly he dominates. Watt is starting to transcend the normal plane of football. He shouldn’t be allowed to just play for Houston every play, every week. Every team should be able to summon him equally for small amounts of time, where he can leave a wake of destruction before disappearing into the universe until his next appointment to wreck shit.

Basically, I’m saying J.J. Watt is Bahamut. If you’re not familiar with Bahamut, well, this is Bahamut:

In case you were trying to figure out which one was Bahamut, it was the big dragon thing that made everything else go boom. That’s from Final Fantasy IX. I don’t need to get into too much backstory here, but Bahamut was a really powerful son of a bitch that fucked up a lot of things. (If somebody comes on here and says “Well what about Alexander?” I will track that person down and very sternly flick him or her on the head. This is not the time to be talking about the intricacies of FFIX.) Last week, those ships that got blown up in the video were the Buffalo Bills.

The havoc Watt rained down on the Buffalo offensive line will stick in my mind for a while. First, let’s just have some fun with the numbers from this game. Here’s Pro Football Focus’s early grades from the game. Watt ended up with a +13.5 grade, which is a one-game record for 3-4 defensive ends. Here, this sentence from PFF summarizes just how turnt up Watt was against the Bills: “Watt’s nine hits (including one negated by his own roughing the passer penalty) were more than all but eight other 3-4 defensive ends had in the entire 2013 season.” I understand fully that there’s levels to this shit, but I think Watt has gone beyond the realm of what even Meek Mill can understand levels to be.

But instead of letting the numbers speak for J.J., let’s let the tape do it. Here comes a whole lot of GIFs of J.J. Watt making linemen question the abstract idea of blocking! Note that the yellow box in the still images will signify where J.J. lines up, so you can know where to watch on the GIF.

SHOULDER SMASH

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Here we see Watt lined up as a 4-technique, lining up over Seantrel Henderson, the Bills’ right tackle. The Texans are in a standard 3-4 front, with three down linemen lining up directly over offensive linemen. At the snap, the Bills run a play action toward Watt’s side.

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Well, J.J. decides he doesn’t want to meet Henderson just yet and instead greets Erik Pears. And by “greet” I mean “jam into with one’s shoulder.” Watt pushes the converted tackle back while keeping his legs churning before getting a hit on Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel as he releases the ball.

That was the first play of the game.

STUNTIN’

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We pick up two plays later with Watt line up on the other side of the formation. This time he’s lined up as a 5-technique, on the outside of left tackle Cordy Glenn. The Texans’ overall formation is a bit funkier here, with only two down linemen and three linebackers threatening the line of scrimmage. Add in a defensive back creeping forward and you’ve got a recipe for confusion.

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And the recipe is a success! Tim Jamison, lined up over center, drives in the A gap between the center and the guard to Watt’s side. Watt, obviously fed up with not having gotten a QB hit for one whole play, plays the stunt perfectly and gets a free rush right up the middle and into Manuel’s chest. The game that Jamison and Watt play here is perfect. Look at Bills LG Chris Williams hopelessly flail for Watt. And notice how Watt gets his hands on Williams for a second to get separation before running over the top of the penetrating Jamison. This is more than just Watt’s brilliance, it’s a good two man effort, but he sure executes his part of the plan well.

AIN’T NO FUN IF THE HOMIES CAN’T HAVE NONE

Now don’t think that Watt is a greedy teammate. While his teammates help him get in the backfield, Bahamut has no problem helping the homies right back. Let’s check out some plays where other Texans players get runoff swag from J.J. Watt.

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This first play starts with Watt again lined up over Bills LT Glenn. The Bills dedicate both the LG and the C to stopping our blonde hero, but Eric Wood doesn’t really do much to bother the Texans’ end. Instead, Watt engages Williams, dips and rips to the outside before forcing Manuel to step up to avoid certain death. Manuel’s reward for barely escaping Watt’s grasp is getting easily sacked by Jared Crick. Never a good look to get sacked by a dude named “Crick.”

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On this next play, we see see Watt lined up back on the right, although this time he’s further outside. He’s lined up outside of the tackle’s outside shoulder. You can see Bills tight end Scott Chandler kind of looks like he may give Seantrel Henderson help on this play.WattPressure2Still

Scott Chandler doesn’t give Seantrel Henderson any help. Instead, Watt makes a quick inside move on Henderson, forcing Manuel to run for his life by stepping up in the pocket. Look, Manuel literally just looks down at the ground to try to figure out where to go next. Turns out a quarterback looking down at the ground while moving in a collapsing pocket is a pretty easy target. Sack time for the Texans.

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On this last play, we’ll just look at photos of the play. The budget in Suits and 40s can’t afford all GIFs, all the time. Here Watt is lined up over his the LG again. Lined up way outside of the LT is Whitney Mercilus.WattStunt1

At the snap, Watt rushes the B gap between the LG and LT, as Mercilus stunts over him. Look at Williams doing his darnedest to ensure Watt doesn’t kill his quarterback. Unfortunately, nobody’s paying attention to Mercilus running right now the middle.WattStunt2

If you’re looking at this third picture and thinking, “That’s a weird throwing motion,” don’t worry. That’s just the throwing motion you make when a linebacker is ramming his shoulder into your chest.WattStunt3

MORE J.J. EMBARRASSING LINEMEN

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Here we have Watt lined up in between the LG Williams and the LT Glenn. Mercilus’s outside rush leaves Watt in a one-on-one with Williams. Let’s see how that goes.

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Welp. Yeah, that’s just Watt flying off the ball and right into Manuel’s torso. Look at how that poor guy just flies back as he gets hit. Did you know J.J. Watt weighs 290 pounds? God, I’m glad nobody who weighs 290 pounds has ever ran into me.

E.J. MANUEL FINALLY GETTING AWAY. HAHA NAH JK

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I guess J.J. got bored beating the Bills’ left side, so he came back over to his usual post on the right. Here he’s lined up as a 3-technique in between the RG and RT. Again, outside pressure leaves guard Erik Pears one-on-one with Watt. Again, Watt just uses a brutal speed and power combination to get past him and wreck Manuel as the quarterback releases the ball.

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J.J. TURNING YOUR RUN GAME INTO A (BAHA-)MUT POINT

Don’t think that J.J. just spent all day fucking up the passing game. Nah, man, Bahamut also unleashed his fire breath all over the Bills’ running plays as well. Here J.J. is lined up on the outside shoulder of Seantrel Henderson:

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Just watch what the fuck happens here, man. Watt storms inside, swims the fuck out of Williams and makes the tackle. The result? 0-yard gain. Bahamut here just left an NFL athlete doing a somersault in the redzone, and I’m just at my house trying to figure out how to wash my jeans without fading them. I’d say I’m peaking much harder than J.J. Watt at the moment.

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STUNTIN’ ONE MO’ GIN

Look, you know how this play is gonna end. I don’t have to tell you. J.J. Watt is gonna hit E.J. Manuel. Let’s just put that on the table right now. The point of me writing this shit is so we can all appreciate HOW he ends up causing more pain to the Bills’ QB. Watt is lined up on Henderson’s outside shoulder as such:

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However, Watt rushes right down the middle, flushing Manuel from the pocket and tripping him as he barely gets the throw off. Notice how Jamison scoots over right before the snap, confusing the shit out of the Bills’ line. Center Eric Wood gets caught up in Jamison’s business while Watt just storms through the center of the line to flush Manuel. Man, I feel for E.J. Manuel.

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THE PLAY

Okay, this is the play we’ve all seen a million times. After two running plays where the Bills linemen actually blocked Watt well and created running lanes, J.J. changed the entire outlook of the game.

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Do you see that shit? He’s rushing the QB, notices Fred Jackson going to the flat and reads Manuel’s eyes. He reaches TOWARD HIS SIDE and sucks up the ball into his being like he has gravitational pull. You know what, maybe J.J. isn’t Bahamut. Maybe he’s Atomos. So yeah, Watt snatches this pass, then runs 80 yards without any player even remotely catching up to him. Time for more fun with numbers. This play was in the third quarter with the Bills looking to increase on their 10-7 lead. Immediately before this play, the Texans had a 27.2% chance of winning this game, based on Pro Football Reference’s win probability chart. After this? The Texans had a 68.3% chance of winning. I’m not saying J.J. Watt’s entire life is one long form of divine intervention, but I’m not saying it isn’t, either.

Plays like this are you end up with one picture like this:

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And another one like this:

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Yeah, I don’t really know what to do there, either, E.J. It ain’t your fault.

BAHAMUT CLOSING THIS SHIT OUT

So, after spending an entire day turning the Bills’ offensive line into football’s version of the secret service, J.J. Watt’s reward was a comfortable margin where he could sit out the fourth quarter and avoid injury. Nahhhh, I’m just fuckin’ with you. Turns out the Bills had the ball with 1:42 left in the game and 71 yards to go for a game winning touchdown. So, J.J. had one last drive he had to impact before going home and probably continuing to work out or watch film.

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In this first play, Watt finally decides he wants to treat Seantrel Henderson to the experience that is blocking Bahamut. J.J. gives a quick speed rush and Henderson never gets enough of his hands on Watt. Watt gets the corner and tackles Manuel just as the QB gets the ball out to the flat. Yeah, the pass was completed, but J.J. was still murkin’ cats. This was the third-to-last meaningful play of the game.

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Well, two plays later, J.J. Watt is lined up over Henderson again:WattHit8Still

This time, Watt cuts inside for a second, looking like he’ll run a stunt. But instead of running a stunt he gets around Erik Pears’s outside shoulder and sticks Manuel one last time. Manuel overthrows the ball right into the waiting hands of Texans cornerback Darryl Morris. This was the last meaningful play of the game.

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I have a new theory concerning E.J. Manuel’s benching this week. I think that Doug Marrone was honest when he was previously saying he had no considerations to turn to Kyle Orton. However, after last week, I think Manuel said, “THAT’s what happens in this league? Fuck that. I want to chill on the sidelines and collect my paper.” I’m not calling Manuel a coward. I’m calling him a rational human being. If I spent a Sunday getting mollywhopped by a dude from Wisconsin over and over again, I’d do whatever I could think of to make said mollywhopping a one-off moment in my life.

So, Bahamut is already raining hellfire on teams every goddamn weak. After posting maybe the best season by a defensive player ever in 2012, Watt had a damn good year in 2013. While that damn good year wasn’t as transcendent as the one before, it was still a great year by any other player’s standard. And now it looks like Watt may be even pushing his insane standard even HIGHER this year. Yes, he didn’t get a sack in this game, but he had nine hits and around 15 hurries. Oh yeah, and he also had AN 80-YARD PICK SIX. Those things don’t happen. But Bahamut don’t got time for our little understandings of the human body. He’s got offensive line units to burn to the ground.