Sports

Worst Prediction of the Year on BleacherReport.com ?

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LOL..I’ve seen some bad ones, but this prediction by Bryan Toporek is pretty bad. -AC

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Coach of the Year: Mike Brown, Los Angeles Lakers

I’m picking Mike Brown for this award for one reason and one reason only: I’m expecting the Los Angeles Lakers to be really, really good in 2012-13.

With Dwight Howard reportedly on track to play on opening night, five months removed from back surgery, the defensive-minded Brown has a three-time Defensive Player of the Year at his disposal for a full 82 games. From all reports (ESPN and the Los Angeles Times), Howard has looked phenomenal in practice thus far.

So, between Howard and 7-footer Pau Gasol, the frontcourt defense is fortified. Metta World Peace came into training camp having lost 18 pounds, so he should be fit enough to serve as the Lakers’ designated Kevin Durant or LeBron James stopper on the wing.

In the backcourt, the addition of Steve Nash frees Kobe Bryant to play more off the ball than ever before. If the thought of Bryant spotting up wide open for a corner for three doesn’t drive fear into the hearts of opposing coaches league-wide, they’re in the wrong profession.

There’s no guarantee that the Lakers can develop the chemistry they’ll need to win a championship. For Brown to win this award, the Lakers will need to win at least 60 games and earn the top seed in the Western Conference.

But unlike the Miami Heat experiment from two years ago, the Lakers’ new additions all fit logically together. James and Dwyane Wade largely served the same roles on their respective teams before coming together, which led to frequent moments of awkward “you take it!” offense during their first year together.

The Lakers don’t have that problem. Nash and Bryant can take turns handling the ball and spotting up for easy jumpers. Gasol and Howard can take turns bullying opponents on the interior while setting the tone defensively. And the Lakers’ bench is much improved from last year, with the additions of Antawn Jamison and Jodie Meeks.

For the Lakers and Brown, it’s all there for the taking.

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Could Mariano Rivera Return This Season? Rehab Doc Likes Chances

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NEW YORK (WFAN) – Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has insisted all along the target for Mariano Rivera’s return is 2013.

“It’s all about next year,” Cashman said in early May, days after the closer injured his right knee while shagging fly balls at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium.

But what if “the immortal” one is ready this season? Is that even possible?

Rivera’s rehab doctor seems to think so. Dr. Keith Pyne recently told the New York Post that the 42-year-old is “working his butt off” and “itching to get back.”

Though the decision will belong to the Yankees, Rivera and renowned surgeon Dr. David Altchek, Pyne said the one-month delay before surgery may have actually helped the timetable for baseball’s saves leader.

“This is a very detailed guy and he did everything right (pre-surgery),” Pyne told the Post. “He strengthened, he got range of motion. He was very functional before surgery. I don’t want to put a percentage on it, but he reduced recovery time by a lot.”

Surgery to repair Rivera’s torn ACL was put on hold until June 12 due to a blood clot in his right calf. He was able to log pre-rehab work on the knee, which also turned out to have a partial tear, not a full one, according to Pyne.

Pyne gushed over the hard-working Rivera, who he called “special” and “in the top 10 percent of athletes I have worked with.”

“He’s got everything it takes to accomplish that,” Pyne said of Rivera returning in 2012. “If I was putting money on it, I would put my money on Mo.”

The doctor did admit to the paper, “Right now, he’s shut down until next year.”

Emphasis on “right now.” The five-time World Series champion may have a fighting chance to make his mark this October after all.

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