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Worthy or Unworthy: Who makes the Cut?

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Written by LaShawn Encarnacion aka The Dark Knight of Sports

Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck, LeBron James, Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Blake Griffin etc… These are just a few of the names of professional athletes who had a lot of hype surrounding them before entering their respective leagues. Even can get into hockey with names like Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin. For some, the hype can be considered truly legitimate. For others that hype may be a little premature. So its time to see where some of these players fall. Are they “Worthy or Unworthy” of their extreme praise?

Indianapolis Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck:

The man out who came out of Stanford University, was deemed the next best thing since John Elway and Joe Montana, two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game of football. In his rookie campaign, Andrew Luck did struggle a bit but which rookie does not struggle adjusting to the game in their first year. Finished his 2012 campaign with a 54.1% completion percentage while throwing for 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. The following season his interceptions dropped to just nine. In his 2014 season, it elevated back up to 16 interceptions but he also threw for 40 touchdowns that year, making him an MVP candidate that season. But in 2015, with some more weapons around him, Luck has digressed back to his struggling self with 12 interceptions and counting. Luck has all the talent in the world but he works too hard to do things on offense on his own. He seems to not trust his teammates to make the plays he expects of them. Could be the shoulder injury that he has been playing with as well. But the interception count cannot be ignored here. With four full seasons under his belt, it is fully warranted to say that the anointing of Andrew Luck was severely premature in this case. It put pressure that was unnecessary on the young man who is expected to carry on the legacy that Peyton Manning had left behind him, which is tremendous pressure within itself. UNWORTHY of the premature praise is Andrew Luck.

Anaheim/LA Angles Outfielder Mike Trout:

Since coming into MLB, center fielder Mike Trout has lit up the league and made the public aware of the star that is clearly not just on the rise, but shining brightest in all of baseball. While playing briefly in 2011, his rookie campaign did not officially become MLB tenure until the 2012 season. The man known as the “5-tool-player” electrified the league in his rookie campaign, not only winning the AL Rookie of the Year award but in the same season was second in the MVP balloting. Trout is a scoring machine whether he scores the runs (averaging 119 runs scored a season) or hitting the runs in (averaging 99 RBI and 35 home runs per season), Trout is the man in MLB right now. Making defensive web gems is almost routine for rout and while it has come with a World Series ring just yet, it is not Trout who is coming up short for the Angels. Since the 2012 season, Trout has come in 2nd place on EVERY MVP ballot, with the exception of the 2014 season where he was declared the unanimous MVP of the American League. If there ever was a player who was worthy of the hype coming into the league prior, it is Mike Trout of the Anaheim/LA Angels. WORTHY of the premature praise is Mike Trout.

Los Angeles Clippers Power Forward Blake Griffin:

Most will know the name Blake Griffin and connect him to the slam dunk contest and him jumping over that KIA car to win the title. It is also very easy to discredit the hype of Griffin because he has yet to win an NBA Championship. Not to mention that a certain player drafted much lower in Griffin’s same draft class not only has a championship, but a NBA MVP and Finals MVP to his credit. That player is still undervalued and under-appreciated, his name is Stephen Curry. But for this one, lets breakdown the actual stats of Griffin. Since the 2010-2011 season, Blake Griffins numbers continue to rise.  His free throw percentage is the first obvious increase. When Griffin debuted, his foul shooting was atrocious at 64.2%. The following season  was even worse at 52.1%, SHAQ numbers which is never good. But in the 2013-2014 season. it jumped back up to 66% and this season it is over 70% at 75% to date. His game has also evolved. Once known for being just a high riser, he can down post up with his back to the basket AND his mid-range shooting game has improved as well. There was a lot of hype on Griffin and after he had the knee injury and the year to recover before coming into the league, the hype only grew. Was Griffin worthy of it though? Even with Stephen Curry lighting up the league like he is. The verdict is in and it is a YES. WORTHY of the premature praise is Blake Griffin. After all winning a championship takes an entire team, not just one man.

In the end, there will always be people in the world of sports, whether in the individual leagues and their teams, scouts and coaches or even in the media world who are looking to dub the next up-and-coming star as the next SUPERSTAR. While some are most certainly worthy, there are many more who are not worthy of said praise. THAT should leave a lot of wiggle room and cause to pause before coming to such a claim. It is not fair to these young men, not fan to the teams and the media. Most important of all, not fair to the fans who pay the money because of the hype.

FYI: Be sure to follow me on Twitter: @TheDarkTruthASN

AND catch my weekly podcast “The Dark Truth” every Monday evening. 10 PM CT, 8 PM Pacific.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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