TV ratings for sporting events drop

Aliyu Saadu and Keion Cage

Image by Associated Press

Professional and collegiate sports’ TV ratings dropped to record lows in viewership during 2020 and the beginning of 2021 due to adjustments to the COVID-19 pandemic safety regulations.

According to Sports Media Watch, the 2020 NBA Finals and 2020 MLB World Series averaged below a 5.0 rating for the first time in history. The 2020 Masters Tournament final round received its lowest average in history with a 3.4 rating. The NHL’s Stanley Cup Final rating dropped 61 percent.

Low TV ratings can have a significant negative effect on the finances of leagues. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many sporting events to be canceled or postponed.

The NBA had to suspend its 2019-2020 season for nearly five months to adjust to the pandemic and government safety protocols. MLB had to shorten and delay its 2020 season. The postponements and delays led to the NBA playoffs, MLB playoffs and start of the NFL season to be played around the same time. 

“People’s ability to consume all that content doesn’t expand to meet the oversupply of events,” Fox Sports head strategist Mike Mulvihill told the New York Times. “If people were spending 80 percent less time watching sports in May, they don’t have the capacity to watch 80 percent more in October.”

According to Sports Media Watch, the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship averaged an estimated 18.65 million viewers across the ESPN networks. This game was the least-watched national college football championship ever recorded. The game’s viewership had not been close to that low since the 2005 USC-Oklahoma National Championship, which averaged a 13.2 rating and 21.45 million viewers. 

“Even in a pandemic, you can’t watch everything at once,” strategic media consultant Patrick Crakes said in an interview with SportsPro. “If you’re going to lower the pool of the casuals, and you’re going to be depending more and more on a heavier type of sports fan, even those guys and gals are going to have trouble sorting out a crowded environment. You have to make some choices.” 

The ratings highlights of sporting events in 2020 were the NFL Draft and first episode of “The Last Dance,” a documentary about Michael Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls. According to NFL.com, the NFL Draft averaged 15.6 million viewers in the first round. SMW reported that “The Last Dance” had nine episodes in the top 50 of the most-watched sports telecasts of 2020.

Los Angeles Dodgers win World Series

Jessica Coleman | Staff Writer

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the 2020 World Series championship on Oct. 27 by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game 6. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series 16 days after the Los Angeles Lakers clinched the NBA Finals. This is the Dodgers seventh championship. It has been 32 years since their last World Series title in 1988. This title ended the franchise’s championship drought.

“I knew the Dodgers would win. It is great to see after they have fallen short for the past three years,” said Hampton University senior Cameron Smith.

The Dodgers maintained a winning percentage of .629 over the past four seasons, including the playoffs which is the highest winning percentage of any team in a four-year span in the wild card era. Mookie Betts, Corey Seager and Clayton Kershaw had standout performances through the series that helped lift their team to victory. Mookie Betts secured the Game 6 win for the Dodgers in the eighth inning by hitting a home run to give his team a two-point lead. World Series Most Valuable Player, Corey Seager, finished the series with a .400 batting average, .556 on base percentage, seven runs, five runs batted in and two home runs. Clayton Kershaw finished the 2020 playoff campaign with a 2.93 ERA in five starts.

In the eighth inning of game 6, Justin Turner was removed from the game with no further explanation until after the team won. It was later discovered that Turner tested positive for COVID-19 and needed to isolate immediately. 

For the Dodgers, the 2020 headlines should be centered around their resilience and becoming World Series Champions throughout all the obstacles they faced during the 2020 season. For the next year, Los Angeles is now formally known as the city of champions.

Teofimo Lopez win over Featherweight Champ

Noah Hogan | Staff Writer

Teofimo Lopez did the unthinkable this past Saturday night as he upset reigning champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko, becoming the youngest undisputed champion in boxing at the age of 23, and the first Honduran American born fighter to do so. 

Lopez did not rely heavily on his raw power and saw the young champion deliver a stellar technical performance in which he simply outclassed and out boxed the 32 year-old Lomachenko, in what was only both men’s 16th professional fight. 

Lopez demonstrated great strategy and discipline in the early rounds of the bout, keeping Loma at the end of his jab and delivering blistering blows to the body of the Ukranian.

 “I’m staying composed because I know what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to take me to deep waters. So I had to keep that extra wind for the later rounds,” said Lopez in his post fight interview.

With the decisive conclusion of a fight of this magnitude, Teofimo did more than showcase his talents. He became the first boxer in the four-belt era to unify at the 135 pound limit, ething his name within the ranks of some of today’s pound-for-pound greats such as Canelo Alvaraez, Tyson Fury, and Terrance Crawford. 

“As I am more of a UFC fan, it was cool to see Boxing make a resurgence in the sports world. It was a great event and I would love to see these two go at it one more time,” said Oluade Swan, a Hampton University strategic communications major from Atlanta, Georgia. 

With scorecards of 117-113, 119-109  and 116-112 completed history in his first title defense of his recently won International Boxing Federation title while also adding Loamchenko’s World Boxing Organization, World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council championships to his collection. 

“I’m not a huge boxing fan, although I did hear about this fight and it played out differently than what experts like Max Kellerman said it would,” said Swan.

While never having any previous altercations, Lopez gained more than boxing enthusiasts’ respect Oct. 17, citing that this fight was of a personal matter as he and his father Lopez Sr. have detailed a failed attempt in conversation more than two years ago with the two time Olympic gold medalist, Lomachenko.

Although Lomachenko, being the proud champion that he is, never saw his confidence waiver at any point before the first belle rung. 

Commenting in his sit down with ESPN Boxing analyst Mark Kriegel, “Perhaps they didn’t teach him in his neck of the woods that you have to watch your tongue. And when you’re saying such things, you have to answer for them. You can’t simply insult a person because you don’t like him.”

This bad blood ended right where it should have, in the championship rounds with everything on the line. As both men fought nearly everything they had, Lopez edged the victory with a last stand for the ages nearly knocking Lomachenko out, despite a cut above his right eye near the final bell of the 12th round.

“Loma was a hell of a fighter. He knows what he’s doing, but his time is over. I told you guys, I’m smart when I’m in there. I’m going to take bumps and bruises. That’s part of it,” said Lopez. 

As contract negotiations were handled by Legendary promoter Bob Arum and company Top Rank, the fight was aired on ESPN. Both fighters agreed to the fight without a rematch clause making this a matchup with major implications. 

Lopez ended the night making a declaration to the boxing world that this was the start of a new chapter. Naming other credible prospects such as Shakur Stevenson, Jaron Ennis, and fellow card mate Edgar Bellanga. 

Making it clear this was not only a victory for himself but a win for all the young, up and coming fighters who are looking to stamp their name in the history books.

“All it is man, the takeover man, it’s time for the new generation to come up and it was me to lead the way for everybody.”

The Return of Big Ten Football

Aliyu Saadu|Staff Writer

Big Ten Conference college football made its return October 23 after initially announcing the postponement of fall sports in August due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The conference started its season in October instead of the traditional Labor Day Weekend with the 14th-ranked Wisconsin Badgers defeating the Illinois Fighting Illini 45-7.

“Great news today. Over the past month, I could sense the anticipation from our players and coaches, and I’m thrilled on their behalf that they will have a chance to play a 2020 season,” said Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh in an interview with ESPN. “Stay positive. Test negative. Let’s play football.” 

 After the Big Ten Conference announced on August 11th that fall sports were going to be postponed until further notice, the players started a petition led by Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields called #WeWantToPlay to get conference officials to reconsider their decisions. The petition had more than 300,000 signatures. 

According to Morning Consult, 58% of college football fans and 62% of Big Ten fans support the conference’s return to play this fall. The petition and polls led to a conference meeting that resulted in reversing its decision to play football in the fall. 

The conference adopted stringent protocols to control the spread of COVID-19 among student-athletes and staff. Players, coaches, trainers and other personnel on the field will have to go through daily antigen testing. If anyone tests positive for COVID-19, the earliest they can come back is 21 days after they test positive. If there are cancellations of a game because a team had an outbreak within the program, they have no way of making that game up.

“Our focus with the Task Force over the last six weeks was to ensure the health and safety of our student-athletes. Our goal has always been to return to competition so all student athletes can realize their dream of competing in sports they love,” said Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren on bigten.org, the conference’s website..

There will be no fans at any of the games except for family members or public ticket sales. Not having fans in attendance has an impact on game atmosphere, because players are used to being in an energetic and loud game environment. 

“When we make a big play, we have to have that energy,” said Northwestern linebacker Blake Gallagher on si.com.. “That’s going to be more important than ever this year with the absence of the crowd.” 

The return of Big Ten Football is significant for the players as well as the fans, because players will not have to sit on the season while the SEC, ACC, and Big 12 continue to play their season. Now, they put themselves in a prime position to be involved in the college football playoff picture.

It has been a long road for the Big Ten to return to playing football. The conference’s teams able to have a season after many people thought would be impossible. This will be the most unusual season in Big Ten history, which is 2020 in a nutshell, but Big Ten football is back. 

Los Angeles Lakers win NBA championship

CAMERON CROCHERON- STAFF WRITER

Associated Press Mark J. Terrill

LeBron James led the Lakers with game-highs in points and assists en route to his fourth career Finals MVP Award while finishing with his 11th career triple-double in the Finals, the most in NBA history. Anthony Davis had a double-double, totaling 19 points and 15 rebounds as he made his defensive presence known once again by holding Jimmy Butler to only 12 points.

“We just want our respect, Rob [Pelinka] wants his respect, Coach [Frank] Vogel wants his respect, our organization wants their respect, Laker nation wants their respect and I want my damn respect, too,” James told tele- vision reporters during the NBA Finals trophy ceremony.

Capping off the longest season in NBA history, the Lakers have now tied the Boston Celtics for the most championships as a franchise in league history.

“For me to be part of such a historical franchise, it’s an unbelievable feeling not only for myself but for my teammates, for the organization, for the coaches, for the trainers, everybody that’s here,” James told TV reporters.

The Miami Heat exceeded many people’s expectations, walking into the playoffs as the 5th seed in the East and having had 60-to-1 preseason odds to win the NBA Finals, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“So what that nobody picked you to be here, that’s OK, I’m sure pretty sure nobody’s picking us to win either,” Butler said in a news conference. “We embrace that.”

Throughout the playoffs, the Heat put on a show, defeating two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in five games and Jayson Tatum and the Celtics in six games. Yet, going into the Finals, many people didn’t even give the Heat a chance against the Lakers based on their lack of experience and the team’s build.

“To upset the Lakers, I give them a 0 percent chance, it’s not happening,” NBA champion Kendrick Perkins said on ESPN’s “First Take.” “The depth of Miami’s bigs is not enough to overpower the Lakers.”

The Heat managed to steal two games in the series as both stemmed from outstanding performances by Butler, but injuries proved to play a major role in the series. Ultimately, two of the Heat’s best players went down early in the series, resulting in a 2-0 series deficit to start the series. Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic got injured in Game 1, as both missed substantial parts of the series with Bam out for Games 2 and 3 and Dragic missing Games 2 through 5. Adebayo dealt with multiple upper-body injuries to his shoulder and neck while Dragic suffered a torn plantar fascia. Even through the injuries, the Heat managed to put up a good fight against the talent- ed Lakers through the series.

“The Heat performed as well as they could despite all the injuries, you could tell Bam and Goran weren’t 100 percent but still fought hard to play,” Heat fan Kory Russell-Brown said. Kobe Bryant was a name that remained on the minds of the Lakers organization as they celebrated their 17th NBA title. Through the night, fans took to the streets outside of Staples Center in Los Angeles and began chanting the late, great Bryant’s name.

“Ever since the tragedy, all we wanted to do was do it for him, and we didn’t let him down,” Davis told reporters after the game. “I know he’s looking down on us, proud of us.”

The NBA Bubble Success

Colangelo Parker- Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of Complex (Complex https://www.complex.com/sports/nba-bubble-orlando-predictions)

The 2020 NBA postseason is in its final chapter with the beginning of the NBA Finals series between the L.A. Lakers and Miami Heat on September 29 in the Orlando bubble.

It has been nearly four months since NBA players began to arrive to Orlando, Florida on July 7th to finish the remainder of its abnormal season. For the past four months, the NBA has quarantined itself in a bubble. The NBA bubble was created to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to its players while they complete the 2020 season in the midst of the pandemic.

“My ultimate conclusion is that we can’t outrun the virus, and that this is what we’re got to be living with for the foreseeable future which is why we designed the campus the way we did,” said Adam Silver in an interview with ESPN. “And so it’s a closed network; and while it’s not impermeable, we are in essence protected from cases around us. At least, that’s the model.”

On June 4, 2020, the NBA’s Board of Governors voted and approved a plan for the return of play for the 2019-20 NBA season. Instead of teams returning to play in their home arenas, the NBA decided that all games would be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Since the arrival of players to the bubble, the NBA has had zero positive tests of 341 players tested for COVID-19.The Disney campus was set up to house players and staff for the remaining games of the season. The NBA prioritized players and staff safety above

all for the restart after players such as Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell, Russell Westbrook, and others contracted the COVID-19 during the season’s hiatus. The NBA set up rigorous rules, regulations,and safety protocols for all in the bubble to prevent and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 on the campus.

“Since we designed our initial protocol, we are continuing to work with Disney on the testing of at least a subset of their employees that could potentially be in the same room as our players, and anyone else who’s tested daily on our campus,” said Silver told ESPN.

The stage was set for the return of basketball. The NBA officials agreed upon a format approved for the return of 22 of 30 NBA teams, featuring nine Eastern Conference teams and 13 Western Conference teams. All 22 teams invited were still numerically eligible to make the postseason with the target date for resumed play being July 30 and the NBA Finals running no later than October 13.

The NBA bubble not only has kept players in good health from the virus, but has allowed players to voice the injustice happening in the United States. Teams have kneeled during the National Anthem and protested games to make statements to viewers about their devotion to seeing systemic change and racial equality in America. In the bubble, players have been allowed to display different messages on the back of jerseys, such as “Black Live Matter”, “Equality”, “Say Their Name” and more. The NBA added “Black Lives Matter” as a logo onto the court the games take place on.

“The African-American community in this country has been engaged in a conversation internally about what to do, with all of us, not simply the National Basketball Association players, but all of us,” said NBA Executive Director Michele Roberts in an interview with ESPN. “And the conversation … that has happened between our players is exactly that: What do we do? How do we do it? How should we do it?”

The NBA bubble has proven to be a success with keeping players safe from coronavirus and providing players with the platform to voice equality to viewers while in the bubble. Fans have been treated to miraculous comebacks, heartbreaking losses, and spectacular performances through the postseason. Now, the beginning of the NBA Finals is here and is expected to be a stellar series to close the chapter of the NBA Orlando bubble.

The 2020 NFL Season Protests and Fight for Change

 Aliyu Saadu- Staff Writer

New York Times

National Football League (NFL) players have been protesting during the National Anthem since the beginning of the 2020-21 season to use their platform to fight for equality in the U.S.

“We’re going to stand behind our players, we respect our players and they have done a great job of bringing attention to these issues,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in an interview on Squawk Alley. “Our focus now is, ‘How do we support them making the changes?”

The start of the NFL season has been historic due football playing during a pandemic, having no fans in the stadiums, and players protesting during the National Anthem. Through the league players have been protesting and outspoken for change to ensure that their voices are heard.

During Week 1 of NFL games, teams played the National Negro Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing, and the National Anthem, Star Spangled Banner, before the start of their games. In the season game opener between the Houston Texans vs. Kansas Chiefs, the Texans chose to remain in the locker room during the playing of the anthems. Teams across the league locked arms in unity, kneeled, or remained in the locker room during the anthem just as the Texans.

“It is not about the flag,” Goodell said. “The message here [is] that what our players are doing is being mischaracterized. These are not people who are unpatriotic. They’re not disloyal, They’re not against our military,” said Goodell in Emmanuel Acho’s Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man YouTube series. “What they were trying to do is exercise their right to bring attention to something that needs to get fixed.”

These NFL players have made it known that they are not here just to entertain, but having their voices heard. The deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Kentucky earlier this year fueled players to be active in the fight for social justice through their season.

This has led the NFL launched the NFL Votes Initiative in August to promote fans to vote and get more people in at voting polls. The NFL has partnered with the Rock the Vote, RISE to Vote and I am a Voter to promote educational seminars and help with registrations for all NFL personnel. There have been 14 teams that will use their stadiums as a voting poll in November. The NFL is reaching out to their employees and fans to help out on election day to replace the older workers that are at high risk for COVID-19. Lastly, the NFL has committed $250 million to combat systemic racism in the next ten years.

“The days of ‘sports and social issues aren’t going to mix,’ that’s the old world, these issues are top of mind, and the players are going to use their platforms,” said social justice activist and the Executive Chairman of Fanatics Michael Rubin in an interview with New York Times. “I don’t see any chance of this reversing course.”

It has been over four years since NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick became the first player to kneeled to protest racism and police brutality. This may have led to the end of his career as a player, but it has been the spark that has led to the protests and social justice fight in the NFL. As the season goes on, NFL Players look to continue to use their national platform this year to keep the momentum and fight for equality in the United States.

Jermaine Marrow becomes HU’s all-time leading scorer

Nazim Trammell-Wells | Staff Writer

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Photo Credit: Unsplash User Stephen Baker

Jermaine Marrow made history last week by becoming Hampton University’s all-time leading scorer in men’s basketball. In doing so, he passed former NBA Star Rick Mahorn. 

“It was a goal I had in mind when I first committed here, and it feels good to reach that goal,” Marrow said in an interview with the Daily Press. “I remember everyone telling me I needed two more points, three more points to get the record.”

Marrow, who’s known for scoring buckets in high quantity, wasn’t having the best game. While he accounted for 13 points in the first half, he was held scoreless until the 4:52 mark when he hit a layup that tied the mark. He was then fouled, went to the free throw line and hit both shots, passing Mahorn.

The entire crowd knew how close Marrow was to the record, and when he did eclipse it, they erupted. Coach Buck Joyner also called a timeout so that Marrow could briefly bask in the moment. 

Marrow was greeted by smiles and handshakes from his teammates before closing out the game with a 80-70 win over UNC Asheville.

“It was an exciting moment,” Hampton senior Cameron Austin said. “I knew he could get buckets, but becoming Hampton’s all-time leading scorer is a feat that I never thought I’d see.

“I hope that he continues to ball and gets a chance in the NBA.” 

Marrow has been a hometown hero for some time now. He attended high school at Heritage High School in Newport News, where he averaged 31 points per game.

After the season concludes, Marrow plans to declare for the NBA Draft. Last year, he tested his stock to see what scouts were saying but ultimately decided to return back to Hampton. Marrow will finish the season with the most prolific career in Hampton University basketball history before taking his talents to the big stage.

Another XFL, 19 years later

Justin Whitner | Staff Writer

When the XFL began its first go-around in 2001, it was a professional American football lea gue that wanted to pounce on the idea that football season could still stay relevant after the completion of the NFL and NCAA seasons.

The XFL set off as a joint venture between the World Wrestling Federation and NBC. WWF owner Vince McMahon promoted the outdoor football league with fewer rules, faster play time and more excitement on the field. The first XFL league had eight teams in two divisions. The 2020 version will repeat that same league plan with hopes that this second go-around with the league will go much differently.

  In the first week of the XFL season in 2020, much like in 2001, many viewers tuned in to the opening day of games. Two games were on Fox, one on ABC and one on ESPN. The four games averaged 3.12 million viewers and a 1.0 rating among adults ages 18-49.

Those ratings were in line with the inaugural prime-time game for the Alliance of American Football on CBS last year that averaged 3.25 million viewers, 0.9 in adults 18-49. However, the AAF didn’t get a chance to even finish its season as it suspended operations the 9th week of the 10-game season.

Fox’s Sunday afternoon XFL game had the biggest audience with 3.39 million viewers, while ESPN’s Sunday telecast was the smallest of the four with just under 2.5 million viewers, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

  “I think the XFL has a better foundation, and I think they came with a different approach,” Hampton University football player Justin Lawson said. “The XFL has its own set of rules that makes it more interesting to watch. The XFL is also accessible on channels like Fox and Fox1; it also comes on ABC, which tells you that the XFL has network approval and people are actually watching.”

  The rule changes and opportunities in the XFL, along with the quality of play, drew largely positive reviews on opening weekend. Although the kickers are undermined, and their value is decreased with no more punting out of bounds, kickoffs are backed up, more returns are allowed and no more extra-point kicks, it seems to have brought a different style to the game of football.

In 2001, the partnership between McMahon and NBC resulted in 14 million viewers for its prime-time opener. After the first game, however, the ratings went all the way down, and that XFL failed just after one season. NBC and the WWF both lost $35 million on their $100 million investment in the league’s inaugural season, according to Forbes.

“For the XFL to stay relevant, it has to get a specific fan base, and the city they have placed themselves in will help them reach those places because only the fans keep the team alive.” Lawson said. “Like the DC defenders had a showing yesterday that was pretty good, and their quarterback Cardale Jones is not bad.”

The XFL has started off on the same path as it did in 2001, but it will have to do things extremely different this go-around in order to keep the league afloat.

NBA trade deadline recap

Justin Norris | Staff Writer

Although no stars were moved during the NBA’s trade deadline, plenty of teams made moves they think will upgrade their roster.

Some teams, such as the Houston Rockets, Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers, made moves that further emphasized their win-now attitudes in a championship race that is more open than it has been in at least five years. The Los Angeles Lakers were the most notable team to stand pat at the deadline. 

The Houston Rockets doubled down on their small-ball philosophy by trading away starting center Clint Capela, their 2020 first-round pick and Gerald Green for Robert Covington and a future second round pick. Trading Capela means that PJ Tucker will play center full time for the Rockets in a lineup where no player will be taller than Covington, who is 6-foot-7. The move will create more driving lanes for James Harden and Russell Westbrook while enabling Houston to play a five-out offense for virtually the entire game to maximize 3-point attempts and shots at the rim, while allowing them to switch anything defensively without putting any player at a major size advantage defensively. 

Ever since GM Daryl Morey acquired Harden from Oklahoma City in one of the most lopsided trades of all time, he has been determined to maximize Houston’s championship window, which is directly tied to Harden’s shelf life as a superstar. 

With the Golden State Warriors out of the championship picture this year, it was assumed Morey would make a win-now move to take advantage of the abdicated Western Conference throne. Morey even admitted in an interview with ESPN in 2017 that last year that he was “obsessed” with beating Golden State because he knew that the road to the NBA Finals ran through Golden State. 

The Miami Heat sent Justise Winslow, James Johnson and Dion Waiters to the Memphis Grizzlies for Andre Iguodala, Jae Crowder and Solomon Hill. Iguodala was one of the most coveted names on the market for his playmaking acumen, defensive chops and championship experience, and Crowder and Hill are wings capable of making open 3-pointers and holding their own defensively. 

Additionally, Miami was able to rid itself of Waiters, who had fallen out of favor with coach Erik Spoelstra after having multiple detrimental conduct issues with the team. Jimmy Butler’s arrival in Miami this past summer made Winslow’s presence somewhat redundant as a defensive-minded playmaking wing with a questionable jump shot. 

Nazim Trammell-Wells, a Hampton University senior journalism major from Philadelphia, really liked the Heat’s deadline acquisitions. 

“The move to get Iggy and Crowder definitely shifts us into a win now mentality,” he said. “Pat Riley is a great GM, and he is constantly finding pieces to have us in the conversation to both make a deep run, while also acquiring talent.”

This trade deepens Miami’s rotation, gives Spoelstra even more lineup flexibility and firmly puts the Heat into the tier of Eastern Conference contenders below Milwaukee, which includes Philadelphia, Boston and Toronto. 

The Los Angeles Clippers acquired coveted forward Marcus Morris from the New York Knicks. Morris had been linked to both Los Angeles teams before the deadline, and he and Iguodala were two of the most highly sought after players on the market. While Morris represents another viable 3-and-D and scoring option for the already loaded Clippers, perhaps the biggest boon of this transaction is that the Clippers kept him away from their locker room roommates, the Los Angeles Lakers. Morris is averaging almost 20 points per game on 44 percent shooting from 3-point range. He is another wing defender who can at least hope to match up with LeBron James in a potential playoff series, if for no other reason than to keep Kawhi Leonard and Paul George fresh.

The Lakers chose to value team continuity and chemistry over perceived marginal upgrades at the trade deadline. The death of Kobe Bryant might have played a factor, as this team rallied and became closer than most in the weeks leading up to the deadline. Forward Kyle Kuzma’s name was circulating in trade rumors leading up to the deadline, but the Lakers decided to keep their streaky third-year scorer. In fact, Kuzma was rumored to be in discussions with the Knicks for Morris, but the Lakers must have decided that the price to acquire Morris was too steep. However, they are expected to be active in the buyout market, especially since free-agent guard and California native Darren Collison recently announced he will remain retired, to the chagrin of Lakers fans. 

John T. Harvey IV, a fourth-year in HU’s 5-year MBA program who is from Washington, D.C., laments the Lakers’ passiveness at the deadline.

“When you look at the Clippers, they are deep at every position and have already beaten the Lakers twice this season,” he said. “I was hoping that they would acquire Morris to even the scales, but it is unacceptable to allow him to go to our biggest competition. His shooting and defense would have made him a great fit on any team, but especially next to LeBron and AD.”

As with every season, time will tell if teams such as the Rockets and Heat did enough to vault themselves into true championship contention, and if the Clippers did enough to topple the Lakers in a playoff matchup. But all eyes will be on the Lakers and whether or not they were prudent in their refusal to trade Kuzma and disrupt their chemistry like they did at last season’s deadline.