I'm an underground fighter, weird things happen around Halloween.
Underground fighting, kind of an ironic name considering how promoted it is now. Every group of knuckleheads has their own YouTube channel, hell, bare knuckle boxing has became sanctioned as of late. But there are still grimy rings with seedy individuals betting inordinate amounts of money on the outcome of a fight between two guys that are willing to go a little farther than the law would allow. As you've guessed , I am one of 'those guys' don't get the wrong idea, I don't have a death wish, while its true you can find places that give a couple idiots machetes and watch the show, that isn't my thing. I'm just a good old, bare knuckle, no holds barred , not good enough to get into the ufc schmuck. It pays the bills and makes it so I only really have to work a handful of days a month. The name's Terry Gilmore , and I'm not here to tell you about the mildly interesting world of semi illegal fighting...or rather, not the side of it most people see. Like any other sport there is superstition, myth and legend. And the older guys, they have a rule, don't take fights from September 15th to November 1. Ask 10 old heads why, you get 11 different reasons. Humidity leads to more injuries, spirits make bad luck, veil between world's thins, all kinds of crazy crap. And most people laugh it off, schedule their fights, and are perfectly fine. I'm a pretty mediocre athlete truth be told, but in this regard, unfortunately, I'm not most people. The fight takes place in a warehouse , spotlights hastily rigged up provide glaring illumination to the assembled crowd of scumbags just connected or rich enough to lose a few thousand dollars in a night and take the loss in stride. I'm wearing loose shorts and no shirt, the spotlights are already making me sweat. My opponent is an older guy, 50s maybe, solid build, bushy grey hair and beard. He wears a pair of torn sweatpants and a sleeveless white undershirt. His face has the telltale signs of an alcoholic , and I really hope he isn't some poor homeless guy they dragged in at the last minute. His confidant stride to the centre of the second rate ring made me realize that was not the case. The ref says nothing other than " Begin" as we touch fists and begin to circle. He's a few inches taller than myself and has about 20 pounds on me. The advantage is most certainly on his side. But being half his age, there should be no way he has more gas than I do. The first round is a boring affair. Both of us feeling each other out with jabs and feints, not wanting to commit for fear of taking a nasty cut early in the fight. Boxing purists will point this out as a flaw in bare knuckle bouts, from my point of view, if the goal is to make the fight as realistic as possible bare knuckle is the superior option. The second round though, that is when I knew something was amiss. He came out of his corner like a bat out of hell , not the haymaker frenzy a lot of big guys with no skill try, but a constant pressure of jabs followed by heat seeking overhand punches I found myself stumbling backwards to avoid. The first real blow that connects sends me into the boxing style ropes. I dodge the roundhouse right meant to finish me off and push forward, getting inside his guard. One main difference, rules wise, to an mma bout is headbutts are perfectly kosher. As a shorter guy this is just about my only advantage. I clinch up with the guy, who I notice is dry as a bone, and smells vaguely of sawdust. Instead of trying to take him down, or dish out some body blows though, I bring him in as close as possible, tuck my head and drive the top of my skull into his jaw. I feel something give way and he falls back a bit. I'm shocked that i didn't put his lights out, but not enough to let up. I assume he is more of a boxer so I start throwing some low kicks. They land as expected, seizing his oblique muscle. But that wasn't the goal. On the fourth kick he throws his guard low, exactly what I was hoping for. I don't bother setting it up with a jab, I spin my torso into a devestating uppercut that lands with an audible crunch. I think the guy has to be on something as he shakes his head for a second, obviously trying to clear away some cobwebs, but still in the fight. I don't let shock make me stupid though, as he is getting his bearings I launch a roundhouse left, ready to back it up with a takedown if this guy's cement jaw keeps doing its thing. He regains his wits quickly enough to see the powerful, albeit sloppy, punch coming. He reacts with a bulldozer of a left cross, meant to simultaneously block my blow, and take my head off of my shoulders. But he wasn't quite quick enough. I turn my body and the punch misses cleanly enough that I look him directly in his surprisingly vibrant blue eyes. Right before my blow connects, and I see one launch itself from its socket. I fight in a pretty brutal sport, and in an extra brutal league, but at the end of the day we are all still athletes trying to get by doing what we love. You get a few psychos now and then, but they are self defeating. If you are known for crippling folks no one is going to want to actually get in the ring with you. With that in mind I took a step back, lowering my guard and saying " holy shit! " as I looked to the ref, who was unashamedly attempting to pick up on a pretty attractive lady in the audience. The old man looks at me with one eye closed. No blood but I swear I see a thin line of grey fluid coming from the eye I unintentionally removed. "Don't worry about me kid, you're in a fight." He says launching a push kick that widens the distance between us before the end of round bell rang. He goes to his corner, and his cut-man, a young guy with pale skin an a moustache that makes him seem untrustworthy begins to work. I try to catch a glimpse of how bad I hurt the guy but I have my own wounds to attend to. No cut-man for me, never saw the point in paying someone 15 per cent to take me out of the fight before I'm ready. That's the refs job. I apply the last of a container of "quick stop" purchased from the pet store (mostly corn starch and lidocaine) on the worst of my cuts and feel the stinging and bleeding abate. We are on our feet again and as we touch fists, I first assumed I didn't actually knock the man's eye out. Clearly I was looking at a fully occularly typical person. Two perfectly functional eyes were gauging how much I had left in me. The only problem was, one of the eyes was brown. Maybe I'm punch drunk, maybe I just didn't notice it before , but my gut screams at me something is wrong. Especially when I realize that before the blows are even being traded I'm gassed, and my oponent literally hasn't even broken a sweat. He's observant for someone who should no longer have access to binocular vision, and takes advantage of how winded I am. He launches a combination that I'm sure was the scourge of the city league 30 years ago. But we are not boxing. I clinch up, taking a couple punches in the process but stealing his reach. He's not a grappler, and I easily get him against the ropes, heedless of the elbows and awkward jabs he is throwing. I grab the ropes with both hands, trapping him, and gather up all my energy for as many knees as I can throw. The old man is out of his element , every time he lowers his guard he receives a headbutt to the jaw, as he defends against that I launch knee after knee, I feel his ribs crack , then break, and as the fifth knee lands, and I feel my muscles burning enough to make me disengage it feels like I'm striking a bag of melting ice. His jaw is cocked, one side of his chest slightly caved, but he is still standing. And as I watch his jaw pops itself back into shape. He whispers just loud enough for me to hear "You fought good kid, I'm gonna make sure you still come out of this looking decent." I think he is taunting me but his tone is very legitimate, and more importantly he does not sound ready to stop anytime soon. Before I have time to set myself he fires off a kick that lands square in my stones. My body cramps up, and a wave of nausea overtakes me. Perfectly legal , though frowned upon blow in this sport. A punch to the stomach follows , and as I go to a knee, the old man puts his hand over my nose and mouth in a death grip. I begin to retch and suddenly am waterboarding myself on my own vomit. The ref, realising that aspirating vomit has killed much better people than myself calls the fight, a win for the old guy but judging by the booing from the crowd, not one that will get him another fight anytime soon. The "locker room" was 2 industrial showers that sprayed what felt like ice and smelled like a week old mop. On the plus side there was a partition. I begin washing the blood , sweat and vomit from myself and strike up a conversation with the old man. "So what are you on that is letting you ignore that kinda pain, if it's not blowing out your heart , I think I need some. " I say , hoping it comes off as good natured ribbing. "Not a thing to sell ya kid. But I do have an offer for you." He says cryptically. "I'm not going to make the obvious joke about making me an offer in the shower, so I'll just ask, what's the offer? " suspicion creeping into my tone. "I'm part of a promotion, and I think you might be good enough to join. You'd be making UFC money with your Streetbeefs talent." He says grinning a bit. I've made a deal with myself to not think about the fact I know I shattered that jaw. "Look at you trying to sound all hip. Not interested in a snuff league man. " I say in a neutral tone. "Nothing like that. Actually I'd say most of the time the rule set is going to be much stricter than these glorified barfights. Now, listen I could give you all the details now, with our Johnsons flopping around, and you are going to think I'm a liar, crazy, or some kind of pervert like that 'Competitive Tickling' guy from a couple years back. Better I give you my card, you see for yourself and make your decision. " the old man says drying off and putting on a pair of comfortable sweats. I do the same, down to a similar oversized worn out sweatshirt and pants , adding a " great minds think alike." As I notice this similarity. He hands me a card for a place called " Gym's" which, oddly is only a few blocks away from my place. Not that I think I can recall exactly what is there but I'd think I'd know if it was a gym or training camp. "Come at 7am tomorrow or don't bother. " the old man says as we part our ways. It'd be poetic if I said I didn't sleep the night before, but I did. In fact I'd pretty much decided this was going in a "competitive tickling" (look it up if you art getting the reference. If I had to find out about it undiluted so do you) direction and decided against it. But now you get introduced to "Saw Guy" , now I know where you guys are reading this, so don't get too excited at that name. It's the nickname I've given to the guy who lives in the house next to my apartment. This man , I shit you not every weekend is up at the cracks of dawn sawing some bullshit for a home improvement project. . And you know what? I wish he was killing people because then , instead of having to deal with this bullshit when I want to sleep in , I could just have him arrested. You can probably guess what happened next. I was bored, annoyed and up earlier than I had any right to be. I decided to go pay a visit to Gym's . Sure enough a building that could have used a coat of paint, with a faded blue and yellow sign reading Gym's stood at an adress I could swear was just some houses last time I checked. I don't prepare my mind for something horrific, just something…gross. Old people bondage club or fetishist bar or something. Luckily when I opened the tinted glass door , what I saw was a pretty big standard gym. Mma cage, boxing ring , treadmills, etc. And some slightly above average guys and gals who think they are warrior gods using them. I'm greeted by the old man. He is wearing what I'd like to describe as 'business casual' attire. A pair of nice looking dress pants and a silk muted hawian shirt that is making up for its lack of taste by being obviously custom and very expensive. He's had a haircut and shave as well and now has more of a James Randi vibe instead of reminding me of a blown out Mic Foley. "You made it. Names Harold in case you never got it. Now are you the type that rips a bandaid off fast or slow?" He says with a bit of a smirk. I point to my wounds from the night before , taking the time to notice there isn't a single mark on him, and say "not the type to use band aids." I say trying to show some confidence. "Good to know. Gym!" He screams. I hear a noise from the ceiling, I'm not trying to be funny but the closest thing I can think of it sounded like was the world's largest butthole taking the world's worst crap. A slimy , irregular slithering that drowned out the other sounds in the gym. I looked up I couldn't help it. What I saw made me produce a layer of cold fear sweat. The ceiling of the gym was a rusted fleshy mass, rearranging itself into a massive face, staring dead eyed down at me. It grinned like a flayed emoji , I was at a loss for words. "Gym " I say trying to not puke, faint or run. "Who owes Harry ? Kid didn't shit himself." The face says, vibrating the floor with laughter. The face disolves and I look to Harold, jaw agape. "Things starting to come together?" He says putting an arm on my shoulder. " I fucking hope not." I say as he starts to walk me to a back corner of the gym. "Because at the moment it seems like I'm being walked into a monster…" "Okay, we are going to have to go over rule number one. You are acting like a 'Whedon' , that is our nickname for humans who try to frame everything in fiction. It generally leads to you putting your foot in your mouth and making really stupid paranoid comments. Then it leads to you acting like you have no choice , and generally being a real bummer to be around. There are a lot of entities that do all the shit you are afraid of. But none here. Does that mean everyone loves you? Hell no, but we are trying something here. It isn't a death pit, it isn't a ritual or some sick game. It's a promotion, we're 90%mma 10% WWE, we have health care, life insurance, and more cash to throw around than you can believe. Our refs actually look out for our fighters well enough I can say there is a minimum of 1 ufc ref worse." Harold monologues, I can tell he has practised this but I do get the vibe he is being sincere. "Your talking about Herb Dean?" I say , trying to find something casual to say. "Of course Herb Dean. Anyway, we could use someone like you. You won't be fighting anything you can't handle, or don't agree to. I feel pitching it anymore is going to make you nervous , so , what do you say?" Harold finishes. "First, why me? I could think of 20 guys better off the top of my head." I say , cockiness gone. "It's not about that. We need the right kind of mindset, and you have it. You are no psycho, you are dealing with the destruction of your worldview well, you can keep your mouth shut and well, those 3 years on that kids show didn't hurt either." He laughs as we make our way to a skinny guy working a heavy bag in a pretty masterfull fashion. The guy turns to us and thankfully I'd just seen an eldritch ceiling tile , as it let me react with a little less gusto to this fresh horror. He was wearing extremely oversized workout gear, with a ruddy, almost infected reddish skin tone, greasy long black hair , a mouth that seemed too small for his face, and massive black almost hamster like eyes taking up a third of his face. But these were not the most disturbing feature, his hands were massive things, not deformed and cancerous but lithe, with palms the size of dinner plates and 2 feet of undulating knuckles on each hand. He extends one to me and talks in a soft almost childlike whisper "It is a pleasure to make your aquiessence, good bedfellow". I shake his hand, which feels like it could rip my arm from its socket. But turn to Harold. "The hell did he just say?" I whisper. "Don't try to analyse it too much, go for broad strokes. He says hi and is happy to see you. " Harolds tone indicates this is something he is very familiar with. " And to answer the question, yeah in a free for all, or in a dark alley he'd destroy you. But the fight is going to be Queensbury rules, heavy gloves and with a ref that has as many eyes as you have fingers. There is one catch though. " "Here it goes, this is where the creepy pasta starts." I say with a sigh. "That, you are Whedoning all over the place with a comment like that. 'The creepypasta starts' you dramatic little princess. The catch, before you humansplain any more to me is you need to help out a bit with our friend Syz's training. He's got the gimmicks, he's got the skill but he lacks that…he's a bit of a teacup. 10 grand for 2 months plus what you will be making in your other fights. You in?" Harold confidence that I am is not unfounded. And that is where I am , writing this in an understocked lunch room just having agreed to not only fight but train a monster. Can I do it ? Should I be doing it? I've always been a risk taker, and I guess this is just the next in a series of dangerous d ecisions, but it's feeling like I'm in a bit over my head
The Strangest, Yet Most Common Criticism of the ST
So that Recent Daisy Ridley interview made me want to dust off an old thesis statement of sorts I’ve been saying since The Last Jedi was released. Not so much what she was saying but the reaction to it. I was going to include this in my post about why I wondered #ReleasetheEdwardsCut was never a thing but it didn’t seem right at the time. So Here Goes Nothing: This is an observation I began to notice about March 2018 or so, when the “””backlash””” for TLJ really began to take form and start getting ugly. A lot of signs went in different directions so it was hard to point to one exact thing. Then, just after Solo’s release Jeremy Jahns uploads that video, the really dumb one where he says TLJ promotes too much Social Justice or some crap like that and tried to justify everything by saying “I like the movie mother!” (because nothing says good movie like a painfully obvious allegory my neighbours ten year old could figure out in addition to watching Jennifer Lawrence have the shit beaten out of her. Also a Baby gets eaten, yeah.) and something he said in to really stuck with me. First he Says Star Wars is a cinematic universe (it isn’t) then says “Did anyone know what RJ was doing!?” And that was it right there, he managed to summarize what I've been observing these last few months but couldn't put into proper words. Star Wars Fans are mad that the ST is too Directo Artistic Driven then Franchise/ Design by Committee/ Business driven. It’s as if Jeremy was saying that he wants more studio control on these things and that directors should just follow orders and shut up. Now obviously he didn’t say those exact words I just typed but he sure as hell seemed to imply it. Now that seems like an oddly specific thing to say people are criticizing them for and I seriously doubt you will hear that exact phrase mentioned anywhere. But Think About it For a Moment.... How many times have you seen variations of these comments: “Rian Johnson should be on a tighter leash” “They should have had a stric plan for the ST from the start” “One person should have written/ directed the whole thing” “They should only do what the fans want” "Take a page from Marvel." Or some comment that eludes to the notion that Disney/ Lucasfilm should have stepped in more and not let the directors do as they were hired to do. What's funny to me is how "They should have had a plan" always translates to "I fucking hated The Last Jedi!!!!" Now that might seem like an odd way to look at it all but this isn't the first time Star Wars has been "criticized" like this. Look at the PT for example. In just about every review I’ve seen, both in print and YouTube, there’s always a moment where the reviewer says something along the lines of “Did no one tell George this was a bad idea?” or “Did no one challenge George on this?” This is RLM’s most common talking point. Or those claiming Lucas surrounded himself with yes-men who would do everything he wanted and that was it. Lucas did pay for the entire PT out of his own pocket mind you. He had an entire VFX company at his disposable to make any crazy thing he imagined. Who’s to tell him what he can and can’t do? Rick McCallum sure as hell wasn't going to. There is a certain "tragedy" for lack of a better word, when comparing Lucas in the 70s/80s to what he became in the 90s/00s. He ultimately became the very thing he rebelled against, the film producing machine where he could call the shots, order people to do as he wanted and no one could tell him otherwise. This is the entire thesis of The People Vs. George Lucas documentary. Very few directors working today occupy the same zeitgeist that Lucas once did. Abrams certainly doesn’t and neither does Johnson or Edwards or even Howard for that matter. How many can say they changed the medium of film with just one movie? I’d imagine anyone who wanted to seriously challenge Lucas would probably be fired on the spot for it. It would be like trying to challenge James Cameron or Steven Spielberg or David Fincher. You’d get about one inch before being kicked out of the door or in Cameron’s case, yelled out till your ears bled while your phone was nail gunned to a wall. You just couldn't do it. The situation the new films have found themselves in pretty much sets up that criticism though. George Lucas is gone, never coming back. He was THE BOSS and nothing was going to change that. Disney now owns Star Wars and will continue to own it until Kingdom Come. It has now crossed the rift from Filmmaker’s creative vision to Valuable franchise used for profit. Another IP to add to Disney's ever growing roster. So now with every new director they have to answer to Lucasfilm, to Disney, to the Mouse but they aren’t treated as servants but as guests. They aren’t ordered around, they aren’t told what they can and can’t do and they have all the resources imaginable at their disposal. A blank canvas and a $200 Million dollar cheque. For better TFA is very much JJ Abrams from start to finish. He loves his mystery boxes and stories about young women trying to find their place in the world and male supporting characters with father issues while ultimately being a pastiche of what he loves . If you seriously think TFA was made to be a remake of ANH (It really isn't) because Disney wanted it that way for a quick buck, welcome to your first JJ Abrams film. For worse, TROS is very JJ Abrams in the most frustrating way possible… but still very much a film made by him. Every decision made in TROS, good or bad(mainly bad), is something that has appeared in all his movies/ tv shows. You see the gear turning in his head with some of the more... questionable choices. Even behind the scenes, when things seem iffy is never feels like “The hand of the Mouse is stepping in.” It always feels like Abrams listening to feedback from his colleagues like Spielberg and DuVernay. Or in TROS's case, bad impulses.... TLJ is pure Rian Johnson from frame one up until the credits roll. TLJ is eerily similar to the Breaking Bad episode The Fly, the first episode he directed. An entirely character focused story that examines who the characters are and what they ultimately want and their greatest fears. And just like TLJ it is still talked about to this day. Frigg, TLJ and Knives Out both have the same ending twist… The Last Jedi’s production however is where things get interesting. TLJ might just have the smoothest and cleanest production of any Star Wars film probably ever. The Story was set and locked before TFA was in theatres. No massive reshoots, no extreme rewrites, no behind the scenes meddling, no studio oversight, no on set drama, no crazy editing changes and finished under budget with months to spare. That doesn’t happen for like 99% of movies made today, blockbuster or not. The PT on the other hand, oh boy.... TPM got off reasonably well. Some bad weather that destroyed sets didn't send them back too much. Some like to point to everyones reaction to the Rough Cut being the ultimate sign that everyone working on TPM knew it was going to be awful. That's the thing though, it's a rough cut, that's the whole point. It doesn't matter how good or bad any movie is at the end of the day, rough cut screenings are brutal.... ATOC and ROTS on the other hand didn't even have a finished script until about a month into shooting. And most importantly Anakin's entire motivation to turn to the dark side was added after the fact during reshoots. Which were done in late 2004 mind you. No Comment. It was funny for a while when I’d glance at STC throughout 2018 to see where the narrative was going and the most common one for a good month was always some variation of “Did Disney mess with TLJ!?” Trying to prove that something must have gone horribly wrong during the making of the movie... except there wasn't. And I’ve seen this play out in real time with in-person conversations, but after realizing that not only is that not the case but they can’t point to any other of the “usual suspects” to say “this is why thing bad” their only option is to say “RJ Shouldn’t have been allowed to do that!!” If anyone is wondering why RJ is getting his own trilogy this is the reason. The dude gets shit done with no issue. Even the death of Carrie Fisher didn’t put a damper on anything(the amount of comments I’ve seen that said “why didn’t they kill of Leia” got comical). It’s what makes watching The Director and the Jedi such a fascinating experience because everyone is looking at everything going “Is this gonna work or no?” With Emphasis on Hamill the most. TFA’s production was kinda messy but manageable. News about TROS's production has been revealed throughout the year and most of it points to it being messy and chaotic. The making of Docs try to hide this by showing us happy faces, people passionate about what they are doing and saying “hey this is awesome!” Then there’s the horrible realization that we live in this shitty era of movies dictated by film franchises that we watch out of obligation and internet culture creating a massive hyperbolic bubble around everything. I remember a time whenever information about any film was released (franchise or not) and if it was revealed that there was some form of behind the scenes drama between director and studio or changes made that the director wasn't part of people got mad. But now whenever we hear that the response is almost always “Hey they probably saved the movie from being a disaster.” A Real Paradigm Shift. It’s just accepted that Franchise Films are the result of produce studio oversight and that’s ultimately a good thing(that’s not to say there aren’t examples where this hasn’t been the case but that’s a discussion for another day). Which Leads Us To... Marvel immediately comes to mind with regards to this. After 23 movies the MCU has gone through 15 directors. Those who left after one or two movies don’t have nice things to say about it and it’s easy to see why. It’s funny seeing some put the MCU on some pedestal for “How Franchises should be,” which I find head-scratching. The MCU might just be the most micro-managed film franchise of all time. The amount of times I’ve read some behind the scenes piece about how scenes were shot literally weeks before release or were in six months plus of reshoots after the fact is staggering or how directors get screwed over and told to take a knee. And that’s not even getting into the nitty gritty of it all like how they don’t allow directors to shoot their own action or characters being shifted roles because it would affect toy sales. They also sure as hell don’t plan everything out. The amount of times the MCU has retconned entire films out of existence or just pretended certain developments didn’t happen could be its own drinking game. Character development in thrown out the window for the sake of appearance. The writers of Endgame can’t seem to keep their answer straight as to where and when Captain America ended up when he wanted to spend his life with Peggy. If anything Marvel is really good at giving the impression that everything is a well maintained car while running on fumes. Compare the Avenger’s Home Base between movies and then tell me with a straight face “Marvel Pays attention to continuity.” As an aside, what exactly do Marvel and Star Wars have in common? Aside from being owned by Disney what do they have in common? Nothing..... The approach, risks taken, sense of awe, the types of stories of told. It's like comparing a nice tasty burger from that one restaurant in town to an all you can eat Buffet. Sure it's all food at the end day but theres a difference. There’s also the matter of the type of directors that Marvel has picked. They largely go for Indie or TV directors with very little experience making films this scale. They also don’t have a huge amount of clout to their name so they can’t make huge demands for what they want. Sure some have more of a style and clout to them but those are the exceptions that proves the rule. For every Ryan Coogler or James Gunn there's The Russo Brothers or Jon Watts. Star Wars on the other hand has actively sought out directors with experience in films this size and those who have their own style that is reflected in the ones they make. To summarize JJ Abrams is Diet-Spielberg while Rian Johnson is Quirky American Auteur. Gareth Edwards could be the next “mostly” poignant blockbuster director while Ron Howard is a seasoned Veteran. Star Wars could have easily have grabbed any number of pencil pusher directors and gave them ultra strict guidelines to follow and nothing else. Have them make movies that are nothing more than giant fan service reels aimed at getting all the fan dollars in the world. And I think that's what so many kind of expected we were getting from the get go and are confused and out right mad that isn't the case. To Quote u/friedAmobo "Disney and Lucasfilm, regardless of what some people may think, are not stupid - they know the best way to make money is to do what the fans want. That would mean Luke being the main character in TFA, the main trio reuniting, and other fan service moments that would make Rogue One blush. The fact that TFA\ ***isn’t*** *about any of that is telling. It means they had an idea for something different, and they made it."* "TLJ is even more condemning for the cash grab argument. Rian Johnson was the sole writer and director of the movie, and as we all know, the movie was very divisive. But how was that a cash grab, then? If Lucasfilm wanted to make tons of money, they could have a powerful Luke train Rey, and then have him beat the First Order on Crait with super Force powers. It’d have made an easy couple hundred million dollars more. The fact that they didn’t do that, but ended up going with a story that had the potential to be divisive is, again, telling." But…. then you have the complete 180 with the anthology films. Rogue One and Solo and reading into their production is mind boggling. For as much as TROS’s production seemed like a nightmare, the production of these two seemed like fighting Nightmare from Metroid: Fusion. No one wants to come clean with what the hell happened with Rogue One. What movie completely reshoots it’s final act with a little over 6 months before release(not saying it doesn’t happen just bare with me here)? Gareth Edwards is probably never going to talk about how he was basically fired from it and replaced with Tony Gilroy. You think it’s anyway surprising that he has nothing to do with this Cassian Disney+ series? Solo had its directors fired midway through production then reshot the entire movie with someone else. That Doesn't Happen…… I remember hearing that during the summer of 2017 and my coworkers and I just laughed our heads off at it. The notion of a Han Solo movie (without Harrison Ford) was such a ridiculous idea at the time and then this happened on top of it. There’s also the uncomfortable truth that no one wants to admit about the Anthology Films. They Aren’t About Anything. Not that they aren’t about “anything” in the literal sense, but more so in the “these films exist to shove Star Wars nostalgia in your face and nothing else.” They are set during the OT era for frigg sake and throw LORE and CANON junk at you to make up for their complete lack of emotional/ dramatic meaning(I say this as someone who enjoys Solo greatly). Because they are side stories you the viewer don’t have to worry about anything of major consequence happening in them that would affect the main narrative (Skywalker Saga in this case). They can do whatever they want and basically a safe bet for an audience. You don't have to worry abut your favourite characters being killed or doing things you don't agree with. It’s like a video game side quest where all you get is a shiny new item by the end of it that’s good for a while until you get something better an hour later. This might not seem like much but I think fans seriously underestimate the power that comes with these being a side story. The Mandalorian fits into this category as well and something that Hello Greedo has praised the show excessively for. Add on the fact that Disney/ Lucasfilm is going to keep making Star Wars content in the form of movies/ Live Action series/ animation until the ice caps melt and we all die. It's not out of the realm of possibility that something you've always "wanted" might one day happen. To quote my very good friend u/SorryNotSpartacus: “They also, very simply, are not the main saga, and I think people underestimate how much of a difference that makes to the fan audience that by and large seems to respond more positively to the anthology films. Most fans are used to reading or watching EU material.” I recall seeing multiple comments early 2018 “RJ should have been given an Anthology film(s) instead.” As if to say “That way he can do what he wants and I don’t have to worry about it,” or something to that affect. But there’s also the sad fact at the end of day that’s all Star Wars fans “Want.” They don’t want a story or anything meaningful but a shrine to their nostalgia, a two hour fan service reel or a big “thank you” for being fans. Fulfill their own expectations and make them feel nothing but superficial joy. Don't let them think or feel anything else in the process. To quote Frank Oz: “All the people who don’t like this ‘Jedi’ thing is just horse crap. It’s about expectations. The movie didn’t fill their expectations. But as Filmmakers, we’re not here to fill people’s expectations.” He’s talking about The Last Jedi if that wasn’t clear. You’d think this would be obvious but so many fans seem to think it’s the other way around that these things exists to validate them as fans and nothing else. Don’t believe me? Go to any Star Wars sub reddit and search “this but un-ironcally,” or just type any number of words followed be “fans.” The results might surprise you… or won’t. Better yet just Search Rogue One and look for the most upvoted post. It's why I take issue with that recent quote from Jon Favreau that's been floating around for the last few weeks. “We alway knew, and this was something I learned from over at Marvel and working with Kevin Feige, is you always want to keep core fans in mind, because they have been the ones that’ve been keeping the torch lit for many, many years, but there are also stories for young people and for new audiences. These are myths, and you always want to have an outstretched hand to people who might not have that background . And so you’re really telling two stories at once. You’re telling the story for the people who are fresh eyes, and you’re telling the story for the people who’ve been there with the property and with the stories and characters for many years, and make sure you’re honouring them as well.” Almost as if he's saying "Just shove enough fan-service onscreen, someone will recognize it and it will make up for our lack of story telling abilities." It's funny how he uses what he learned from Marvel as "collective wisdom" when he got screwed hard when trying to make Iron Man 2 a movie about Tony Stark dealing with his own death. Stop treating these very corporately controlled entities like they are your best friend, they are not and never will be. Even if you think you have, it's not real. You think this wouldn’t have to be said but it needs to: You as a fan do not own Star Wars. Buying all the stickers and Funko Pops doesn’t make you an owner no matter how you stretch it. You do not have a say on how these things go, you do not get to say what can and can’t happen, you are not the writer, you are not the director, you are not the person who wipes the table off after a meeting because same jack-hole split coffee all over it.You are the person who buys a ticket then bitches online about it. Then again there is always the obvious “fans have no fucking idea what the hell they even want anymore.” Not that I’m free from this, I sure as hell don’t know what I want. I could give some vague answer like “More Babu Frik” but even that seems too broad. I saw a really dumb tweet around February 2018 that showed two posters, The Last Jedi and Justice League and the tweeter said "Filmmakers of these franchises should be actively aware what fans want and go out of their way to ensure that." Naturally most of the replies were ridiculing the guy for his flawed logic. The most liked reply came from someone who said the following "This implies that Star Wars fans actually know what the hell they even want." Also Justice League failed because it didn't do what the fans want? Oi Vey....) None of this is to say anything you yourself have criticized any of the ST films isn’t valid to you or someone else. Unless you’re one of those people who thinks “They have a secret political agenda!” in which case please stop. For as much as I talked about the ST being filmmake director driven they are still very much films released by Disney for the sake of profit. It’s just as much an art form as it is a business. Just as much of a product as they are a piece of fiction. For as much as RJ and his cast and crew have talked about the freedom he was given, he's not going to kill off all the characters and have Rey become a film scholar and analyze the works of Zack Snyder. The ST films are not art house epics and never will be. Neither is the PT or OT for that matter. Lucas is a much better businessman than director. He knew damn well the PT was his ticket to make up losing half his fortune after his messy divorce. Keep things going so he can basically retire once ROTS was done. But that’s all I have to say on the matter. This was based entirely on observation and conversations with others. Also there is no JJ-cut of TROS. There is no version of The Rise of Skywalker in which all the past Jedi appear as ghosts and start doing all the kick flips imaginable that was cut because CHINA. It Doesn't Exist.
News Heading into Thursday August 20th 2020 NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT YOLO THE VARIOUS TICKERS WITHOUT DOING RESEARCH. THE TIME STAMPS ON THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES MAY BE LATER THAN OTHERS ON THE WEB. THE CREATOR OF THIS THREAD COMPILED THE FOLLOWING IN A QUICK MANNER AND DOES NOT ATTEST TO THE VERACITY OF THE INFORMATION BELOW. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR VETTING YOUR OWN SOURCES AND DOING YOUR OWN DD.
XSPA XpresSpa Group Provides Business Update and Announces Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results
NIO NIO Announces Launch of Battery as a Service and Establishment of Battery Asset Company (Overnihgt News)
RXT Rackspace Technology upgrades Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust’s operations providing essential health services remotely (Overnight News)
WU Western Union Accredited as a New Lender Under the UK Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (Overnight News)
ESGR Enstar Group prices $350M debt offering (Overnight News)
MA TransferWise and Mastercard Expand Their Global Partnership (Overnight News)
FTI ($8.21) TechnipFMC wins Subsea EPCI for the Libra Consortium’s Mero 2 Project, operated by Petrobras in Brazil (Overnight News)
GFI Gold Fields - Results for the six months ended 30 June 2020 (Overnight News)
BA Boeing Gets First Order For The Troubled 737 MAX Aircraft This Year (Overnight News)
CNTG ($12.28) Centogene and Evotec expand collaboration into Gaucher disease (Overnight News)
IAA IAA Enhances Efficiencies With Transportation Management System Investment in the United Kingdom (Overnight News)
FTI TechnipFMC wins Subsea EPCI for the Libra Consortium’s Mero 2 Project, operated by Petrobras in Brazil (Overnight News)
TLSA Tiziana is Pleased to Retain Dr. Napoleone Ferrara to Serve on Its Scientific Advisory Board for an Additional Three-Year Term (Overnight News)
APM ($3,28) Aptorum Group Appoints Dr. Herman Weiss as CEO of microbiome-based platform Claves Life Sciences and Dr. Robbie Majzner as scientific advisor to SACT-1 drug for Neuroblastoma and others (Overnight News)
TMBR ($1.62) Timber Pharmaceuticals Announces Appointment of Dr. David Cohen and Dr. Lubor Gaal to Board of Directors
TMQ ($2.04) Trilogy Metals to Hold Conference Call for the Arctic Feasibility Study (Overnight News)
XLNX Subaru Selects Xilinx to Power New-Generation EyeSight System (Overnight News)
GE GE signs deals to add 1.5 GW to Iraq's power grid
TWI Titan International responds to Trump's suggested Goodyear boycott
REGN New England Journal of Medicine Publishes Positive Phase 3 Evinacumab Results in Patients with Severe Inherited Form of High Cholesterol
ESGR Enstar Group Announces Pricing of $350 Million of 5.750% Fixed-Rate Reset Junior Subordinated Notes Due 2040
NVDA INTC Nvidia beats estimates but data center performance leaves shares flat
XRX Icahn Boosts Stake in Xerox Holdings, Filing Shows
MOBL MobileIron Earns Certification for World-Class Customer Support for Third Consecutive Year
SWX Southwest Gas upped at Wells Fargo on more balanced risk/reward
ADM ADM Announces Pricing of Its Secondary Block Trade of Ordinary Shares of Wilmar International and Concurrent Offering of US$300,000,000 Zero Coupon Exchangeable Bonds Due 2023, Exchangeable For Wilmar Ordinary Shares
AIG AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of American International Group and Most Subsidiaries; Downgrades Issuer Credit Ratings of Life/Health Subsidiaries
GT Trump says 'not happy' with Goodyear; would swap tires on presidential limo
LB L Brands reports surprise profit on demand for soaps, lingerie
LB L Brands Stock Is Rising After Earnings Beat Expectations
LB Bath & Body Works parent reports 63% surge in same-store sales
ED New York's ConEd Faces 'Steep Penalties' for Storm Response
MRNA A 5,000% Surge Makes Medical-Wear Firm Singapore’s Top Stock
CWH Camping World Holder Crestview Offers 6 Million Shares
NVDA Nvidia Is Officially a Data Center Company. Here’s Why.
FB Facebook Resists Handing Over Documents in Genocide Probe
AUTO AutoWeb reports preliminary July 2020 results; shares +20%
PCG California grid operator foresees no rolling blackouts
BD Walker and Dunlop Provides Financing for 84-Unit Affordable Housing Development in Sarasota
WGO Winnebago Industries Board of Directors Approves 9% Increase to Quarterly Cash Dividend
GVA Granite Team Installs Log Jam at Derby Dam Fish Screen
SNPS NSITEXE Adopts Synopsys HAPS Prototyping to Validate Data Flow Processor IP
GD US Department of Defense awards new contracts to GD
/thetagang is a sub for traders who are interested in selling options.
An option? What's that?
Options are derivative financial instruments, which means they derive their value from an underlying, such a stock or commodity. Options are a contract in which the buyer has the right but not the obligation to buy or sell the underlying at an agreed upon price on or by a certain date. All options have an expiration date after which they stop trading. Because they eventually expire they are also wasting assets, which means they lose extrinsic value as time passes. This is where theta gang comes in.
Uh huh... I don't really understand anything you just said, but I'm curious, why would anyone want to trade options?
There are two main reason why someone would want to trade options: hedging and speculation. Consider an investor who buys a stock but is worried about a price decline. They can purchase options (put contracts) to protect themselves if the stock's price were to fall. And if they think a stock is overvalued and want to short it, they can purchase options (call contracts) to protect them should the price rise. In both cases the investor is hedging their trade because they are trying to profit from the stock and not the options. The other reason is speculation. Options allow someone to make a directional bet on a stock without buying or selling the actual stock (the underlying).
Why would someone bother with trading options when they can just trade the underlying?
Leverage. Equity option contracts are standardized and each contract (also called a "lot") is for 100 shares of the underlying. It's a way to have exposure to the underlying without needing the capital to buy or sell 100 shares for each contract. In other words a smaller amount of money controls a higher valued asset. Options allow a buyer to make amazing profits. If a trade goes incredibly well, they could see profits anywhere from 100% to 10,000% (a few are even lucky enough to get 100,000%). And despite being leveraged the most amount of money they can lose is what they paid to buy the options. This is known as the premium and is paid to the seller. The option buyer's losses are limited to the premium and their profits are potentially unlimited, whereas for the seller the losses are potentially unlimited and the profits are limited to the premium.
WHAT?!? Why on Earth would anyone sell options with a payout like that? Especially when you could become rich so easily?
If only it were that simple. The reality is most options expire worthless. If you buy options not only do you have to get the directional bet right, but you have to get the timing right as well. If you buy a stock and it goes nowhere for a while and then suddenly takes off in price, you make money from this trade. Not necessarily for options. They eventually expire and if the stock soars after the option expires, tough luck. You get nothing and lose all your money. All of the incredible gains you see with options happen because the underlying made a huge move in a relatively short period. In other words, you have to take an immense amount of risk to make a boatload of money. It's far more likely that the options expire worthless and you lose everything. And if getting the direction and timing right wasn't hard enough, it gets even worse. Options are priced to lose. Recall that options are a wasting asset. An option slowly loses extrinsic value as time passes. This is referred to as theta decay. If the underlying doesn't move in price fast enough (in the right direction, of course) to offset the loss in theta, you lose money. This leads to an interesting outcome: an options buyer can be right and still lose money, and an options seller can be wrong and still make money.
WHAT?!?! How can someone be wrong in a trade and still make money?
The value an option has can be split into two parts: intrinsic and extrinsic. Remember how options have an agreed upon price to trade the underlying at? That's called the strike price. As an example, if a call option has a strike of $10, and the stock is trading at $10.50, the option has $0.50 of intrinsic value. The extrinsic value is also known as the time value of an option. It's the risk premium the seller receives for taking on the risk of selling options. Using the same example as earlier, if the option is trading for $1.10, the extrinsic value is $0.60. The intrinsic and extrinsic value combined are the option's premium, and the seller receives this premium in full. So if at the date of the option's expiration the stock is trading at $10.70, the option is worth $0.70. The seller's $0.40 profit is the buyer's loss. And if the underlying is at $10 or less on expiration? It expires worthless and the buyer loses 100%.
This sounds too good to be true. If most options expire worthless why doesn't everyone sell options and get rich?
If only it were that simple. It's true options are priced to lose and that most expire worthless. What is a wasting asset for the buyer is a wasting liability for the seller. However, it's still a liability and sometimes that liability can end up being a real loser. It's not just a matter of a win/loss ratio. The magnitude of the wins vs. losses must be considered. The most an option seller can make is the premium, but they can lose far more than that if the underlying moves against them. It's possible for a seller's loss to be multiples of the premium they received for selling an option. If an option seller is really unfortunate, they can experience a loss on a single trade that wipes out months of profits. There's no easy money to be made trading options.
Let's pretend that I know what options are. How do the Greeks apply to option sellers?
Delta has multiple meanings:
How much the option's price changes relative to a change in the underlying's price.
The option's equivalent of a position in the underlying (a directional bet).
The probability the option expires in-the-money.
Definition #2 is important to understand when making delta neutral bets (discussed later). These profit from a decrease in volatility along with collecting theta. It's possible to construct a trade where a movement in the underlying does not change the position's value (or by much). Definition #3 is an approximation. Many option sellers like to sell out-of-the-money options with a delta of 0.30, which means they have an approximately 30% chance of expiring ITM.
Delta is not a constant. An option's delta changes as the underlying's price changes. Gamma measures how much delta changes relative to a change in the underlying's price. Option buyers have positive gamma, whereas sellers have negative gamma. Long (positive) gamma works in favor of the buyer. As the underlying moves further ITM, gamma increases delta and profits accelerate. As the underlying moves further out-of-the-money, gamma decreases delta and losses decelerate. Short (negative) gamma works against the seller. As the underlying moves further ITM, gamma increases delta and losses accelerate. As the underlying moves further OTM, gamma decreases delta and profits decelerate. Gamma is bad news for sellers. Theta gang has always been at war with gamma gang. Gamma is also the reason that delta hedging is so difficult when it comes to being delta neutral.
Beloved theta. The namesake of /thetagang. It's why we're here all here and why you're reading this. Theta represents the time value of an option. It's the extrinsic value of an option, and as each day ticks away the time value decreases a little. That amount is determined by theta. Theta decay is nonlinear and accelerates as expiration approaches. The goal of an option seller is to profit from collecting theta. One could sell an option that's ITM and profit from the underlying moving OTM, but that's not a theta bet, that's a directional bet. ITM options also have less time value than at-the-money options. ATM options have the most time value and so the most theta to collect, but are at a greater risk of expiring ITM compared to OTM options. The more days to expiration an option has the slower the theta decay. 30-45 DTE is a very popular period to sell. Others prefer weeklies.
Vega measures how much an option's price changes relative to a change in implied volatility. The IV of an option is the market's estimate of how volatile the underlying will be in the future. The higher the IV the greater the time value of an option, which means options with higher IVs are more expensive. Option buyers want to buy when volatility is low because options are cheaper. Sellers want to sell when volatility is high because options are more expensive. The best time to sell options is during the gut-wrenching periods when no one wants to sell because volatility is so high (such as the March 2020 crash). Options become extremely expensive and there are juicy premiums to collect. Look for large spikes in IV.
Vomma (or volga) is a much lesser known Greek. It measures how much an option's vega changes as the implied volatility changes. Out-of-the-money options have the most vomma. This detail will be discussed later in a horror story of option selling gone wrong.
Rho measures how much an option's price changes as interest rate changes. No one cares about rho anymore thanks to interest rates being stuck at rock bottom for over a decade.
What are some basic details about volatility that are important to know?
Both option buyers and sellers care about volatility (at least they should). Buyers want to purchase when IV is low and sellers want to sell when IV is high. An option's IV in isolation does not actually tell you if IV is high or low. It must be compared to the historical IV for that option. Two popular methods are IV rank and IV percentile. For example, if options on XYZ have an IV of 35% and options on ABC have an IV of 45%, on the surface ABC has higher IV. But if XYZ has an IV rank of 75% and ABC only 40%, XYZ's IV is actually higher relative to its historical IV and may be better suited for selling. There are different ways of measuring volatility and it's important to not mix them up:
Historical volatility: This is how volatile the underlying actually was. It doesn't tell you anything about the future volatility of the underlying. This is also called realized volatility.
Implied volatility: This is the market's prediction of how volatile the underlying will be in the future. It could be greater than, less than, or about the same as the historical volatility. It's only an estimate and can easily be wrong.
Historical implied volatility: This is simply the IV of an option over time. When you're looking at historical data and overlay HV with HIV, you can see how right or wrong the market was estimating future volatility.
Implied volatility rank: IV rank is calculated over a period of 52 weeks. The formula is 100 * (current IV - 52 week low IV) / (52 week high IV - 52 week low IV).
Implied volatility percentile: This tells you the percentage of time HIV has been lower than current IV. The formula is # of days with lower IV than today / # of trading days in a year (252 is normally used).
What is volatility skew?
To understand what volatility skew is we have to go back to the 1970s. You may have heard of a theoretical options pricing model called the Black-Scholes or Black-Scholes-Merton model. This model was published in 1973 and became very popular. It was widely adopted in the options market. The original Black-Scholes model predicts that the IV curve is flat among the various strike prices with the same expiration. It didn't matter if the strike price was OTM, ATM, or ITM, they all had the same IV. IV stayed this way until the stock market crash of 1987, where the DJIA dropped 22.6% in a single day. This single event changed the options market forever. The IV curve was no longer flat but instead demonstrated a volatility smile (conceptual graph). Strike prices further from ATM started trading at higher IVs. The crash was a gut punch to investors that taught them extreme moves in markets were more common than you would expect, and options started being priced accordingly. But the volatility smile is not symmetrical, it's actually skewed. OTM puts have a higher IV than OTM calls. This is due to markets falling much faster than they rise (they take the escalator up and the elevator down). This causes more demand for OTM puts to protect long portfolio positions. Most investors are long the market, and some will sell covered calls which increases the supply for OTM calls. Note that this is true for equity markets. Commodity markets behave differently. Normally there is a floor in commodity prices (although for commodities with storage or delivery constraints, as we learned in April 2020 they can dip below zero) and IV is higher for OTM calls compared to puts, because commodities can suddenly spike in price due to supply side shocks. In equity markets IV is inversely correlated with price, that is, IV rises when prices fall (reverse or negative skew). This isn't necessarily true for commodities where rising prices can mean an increase in IV (forward or positive skew).
The story of James "Rogue Wave" Cordier of OptionSellers.com: A tragic lesson in how not to sell options
James Cordier is a former money manager who has the dubious honor of not only losing all the money of his clients by selling options, but even leaving them with a debt because the losses were so staggering. James was a proponent of selling options and had even written a book about it. He had a now defunct website, OptionSellers.com, which targeted individuals with a high net worth. His strategy was simple: he was selling naked options on crude oil and natural gas. For years he made he made his clients plenty of money. Things were great. Until they weren't... and the results were catastrophic. His clients lost everything and even owed money to their broker, INTL FCStone. Where did James go so wrong? James was selling naked strangles on natural gas and crude oil. In November 2018, both markets moved against him, but the real losses came from his naked natgas calls. He sent an email with the subject line "Catastrophic Loss Event" to his clients on November 15th, dropping the bombshell that not only was all their money gone, but they may be facing a negative balance. If you look at a chart of natgas you can see why his accounts blew up. Natgas experienced a huge spike in November and his broker liquidated their positions at an absolutely massive loss. What mistakes did he make and what can we learn from them? 1. Picking up pennies in front of a steamroller Part of his strategy involved selling deep OTM naked calls on natgas (call leg of short strangles). Deep OTM options typically don't sell for very much, so in order to collect more money you sell a bunch of them to make it worth the trade. This is a terrible idea and no one should ever sell a bunch of deep OTM naked options. It can work great for years, until one day it blows up your account. In order to collect a decent premium you have to overleverage yourself. This is extremely risky and you will eventually experience a major loss one day. The odds are not in your favor. The underlying does not even need to cross the strike price for you to lose money. The underlying's price simply needs to move significantly closer to the strike price and you'll be deep in the red. This is made even worse if volatility spikes, which increases the option's price and your losses (discussed in detail in the next point). Notice what happened the following months: natgas prices crashed back to what they were before the spike. Had James not overleveraged his positions, he could've ridden the losses out to a profit. In fact, all those options probably would've expired worthless. There is another reason not to sell deep OTM naked options. Imagine you're a speculator with a small account (e.g., /wallstreetbets). They want to trade but they can't afford to buy ATM or slightly OTM options, so what do they do? Buy deep OTM options, bidding the price up. When a market moves big and the small-time speculators want to trade it, all they can afford are the cheap options, which are deep OTM. This is bad news when you're short them. 2. Not understanding the relationship between price and volatility Remember how for commodities volatility can be positively correlated with price? Natgas is one of them, and when the price spiked so did volatility. James did not understand the consequences of this. When you are short options, you have negative vega. As the price spiked so did volatility, and the short vega position piled up his losses in addition to being short delta. But vega is not a constant. We finally get to discuss vomma now. Vomma measures how much an option's vega changes as IV changes. In other words, as IV increases, so does vega thanks to vomma. When you're short vega and vomma, this is bad news. Remember which options have the highest vomma? That's right, OTM. So as IV increased, not only did his losses increase due to rising IV, but vega itself started increasing thanks to vomma, further accelerating his losses. He got wrecked four different ways: being on the wrong side of delta, gamma adding to delta, being on the wrong side of vega, and vomma adding to vega. 3. A total absence of risk management Risk management is essential when it comes to trading, and selling options is no exception. Selling naked options can expose you to extreme risks, and to ignore it is simply reckless. It's more important to avoid a huge loss than to make a huge profit, because all it takes is one big loss on a trade to make recovering from it impossible, ending your career in theta gang. Tail risk is a very real concern in trading, and those "rare" events actually happen more frequently than traders expect (fat tails). Look at a price chart of natgas over the past twenty years. You can see random spikes sprinkled throughout the chart. James never stopped to think, what would happen to the value of my positions if natgas were to suddenly spike in price, which I know has happened in the past, and will happen again someday? How could I protect myself against this scenario? It's pretty obvious that if a one-day or even few weeks move manages to blow up your account and completely undo years of profits, you have zero risk management in place. This stems from not understanding how the natgas market works, and trading it with no regard to risk. Selling naked calls on natgas is a terrible strategy because natgas can have sudden price spikes, and IV will spike with it. A much better strategy would've been selling a call backspread. You sell an ATM or OTM call, and you buy two or more calls that are further OTM. That way if natgas did spike your losses are limited, and you might even turn a profit on the spike. Spend the time necessary to learn about the underlying. And don't neglect risk management. If you're going to sell options, you absolutely must understand how the underlying behaves and its relationship with volatility, otherwise you cannot have proper risk controls in place.
What are some popular option selling strategies?
The most popular would be covered calls and cash secured puts. CCs involve selling OTM calls on a stock you own. The short call position is covered by owning the underlying, hence the name (opposite of naked). A single equity options contract is for 100 shares, so an investor sells one call for every 100 shares they own. If the stock price rises beyond the strike price, the seller keeps the premium, but the options will get exercised and the shares called away. They sell them at the strike price, missing out on the extra gains beyond the strike. The seller still makes money on the sale, just not as much as they would have if they sold them at market price. If the stock grinds sideways, the options expire worthless. And if the stock falls in price, the options will also expire worthless, but the seller will lose money on their long stock position. Chances are they will lose more money than the premium they collected from selling the CCs. A CSP is a naked put that's sold either ATM or OTM with enough money in the account to cover the stock purchase if the option gets exercised. If the stock grinds sideways or rises in price, the puts expire worthless. However, if the stock falls in price the options will get exercised, and the seller will be forced to buy the stock from the options buyer at the strike price, most likely suffering a loss greater than the premium they received. A CC has the same downside risk as a naked put. If the stock declines in either scenario the investor risks losing far more money than the premium received. If you are comfortable with the risk of selling CCs you should also be comfortable with the risk of selling CSPs. However, you can lose more money in the CSP scenario if you buy back the put before expiration if IV rises enough, vs. holding it to expiration. Selling a CSP always means selling a naked put. It is not a covered put because you have cash to buy the stock. Whether or not you have enough money in the account to buy the shares at the strike price is irrelevant. A CP means you are also short the underlying, hence it is covered. It's the same idea as a CC, except it has unlimited risk due to there being no theoretical limit the price the stock could increase to, whereas a long stock position can't go below zero (not a guarantee for certain commodities). Other common strategies are wheeling and volatility crush. The wheel is similar to selling a strangle but not quite the same. You sell CSPs on a stock you wouldn't be opposed to owning, and in the unfortunate case of being assigned, you then sell CCs to recoup your losses. If you've been selling CSPs for a while you may still be net up when assigned, but if the stock craters you're looking at a significant loss. You hope the stock slowly climbs while selling CCs, but if the stock suddenly spikes your shares may get called away and you miss out on recovering your losses on the upside. There are variations to the wheel before being assigned. A jade lizard is selling an OTM call spread where the max loss on it is less than the premium collected from selling the CSP. Ideally the stock will trade in between the short put and call strikes and all options expire worthless. You can also trade a ratio put spread instead of just a put. The volatility crush trade is a delta neutral strategy. It profits not from a change in the underlying's price, but from IV decreasing. It's very popular right before earnings. IV on a stock can spike just before an earnings report is released due to uncertainty (vol rush). Unless you have insider information, you can only guess what the results will be. After the report is released, IV crashes because the uncertainty is gone (vol crush). Everyone knows the results. You find a company who's about to report earnings and the IV on their options has spiked. You then sell expensive ATM calls, and because ATM options have a delta of about 0.5 you buy 50 shares for every call sold. Your net delta is zero (delta neutral) because you've offset the negative delta from the short call position by buying shares which gives you positive delta. By hedging your delta you've eliminated directional risk. After earnings are released, IV craters and you buy back the options at a cheaper price and sell your shares. In theory this sounds like an easy way to profit. In reality it's not due to our archnemesis gamma gang. Delta is not a constant and as the underlying's price changes so does delta. If the stock soars after earnings, the call option's delta will increase and your delta exposure will become increasingly negative as the stock rises in price. If the stock tanks, your delta exposure will become increasing positive as the stock falls in price. In either scenario you start losing money from your changing delta position, and the amount you make from IV decreasing must be greater, otherwise you lose money overall on the trade. You can try to nudge your delta in a direction to hedge against this. If you're bullish on the stock you can overweight your exposure and buy more shares so that you have a positive delta. If you're bearish you can underweight your exposure and buy fewer shares so that you have a negative delta. If you're correct, good news for you. But if you're wrong, you lose more money than if you were delta neutral. Then you have a plethora of spread trades, such as vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and ratio, some with creative names. There are far too many to cover in this guide in detail. All of them have at least two legs (each leg is a component of the options trade) to the trade where you are both long and short options.
How does assignment work?
There are two main types of option styles: European and American. European options can be exercised only on the expiration date. American options can be exercised at any time before (and of course on) the expiration date. When an option is exercised, the Options Clearing Corporation randomly selects a member firm that is short the option, and the firm uses an exchange-approved method to select a customer that is short the option. The OCC processes all assignments after market close, and because it processes closing buys before assignments, there is no possibility of assignment if you buy back your short position during the day's trading hours. An option buyer can exercise their option even if it makes no sense financially and they would lose money. It's their right to do so and you are obligated to fulfill it if assigned. Even if an option expires worthless it can still be exercised. The buyer may be speculating that major news gets released after hours (some options trade until 4:15 PM ET) and when the market opens again the underlying has moved favorably and their gamble paid off. To avoid risking this scenario simply close out the day of expiration. Only about 7% of options get exercised and the majority occur close to expiration. This is because options still have extrinsic value before they expire, and once exercised the buyer loses the extrinsic value. It makes more sense for them to sell it. Be aware that if you are assigned you may see a large negative balance or buying power in your account. This may be because the underlying stock trade has not settled yet. It normally takes T + 2 (trade date plus two business days) to settle. Settlement means an exchange of money and securities. Payment is made from the buyer's account to the seller's, and the seller's securities are transferred to the buyer's account. The other reason would be the value of the new stock position. If you have a small account and are now long or short hundreds or thousands of shares, the market value could far exceed the cash value of your account. You'll be forced to close out by your broker. Once either the trade settles or you close out the large negative balance disappears.
What are some scenarios I can expect assignment, especially early assignment?
If an option expires ITM you can expect it to be exercised. Unless instructed otherwise, the OCC will automatically exercise any option that expires at least $0.01 ITM. Deep ITM options about to expire are candidates for being exercised. They start behaving like the stock itself since there's zero real chance of them not expiring ITM. They have no extrinsic value and in fact may trade slightly below their intrinsic value (at a discount to parity, parity being the intrinsic value). This is because no one really has any incentive to trade the option anymore, especially when they could trade the stock instead, which has more liquidity. A market maker would agree to buy it at a discount and at the same time open a position on the stock and exercise the option, profiting from the discount arbitrage. For example, XYZ is trading at $50, and a 45 call is trading at $4.95. A MM buys the call while simultaneously shorting 100 shares, exercises the option and collects the risk-free profit of $0.05: (50 - 45) - 4.95 = 0.05 Selling spreads is a very common theta gang strategy, so let's examine the case of early assignment and assignment after expiration. You sold a 50/55 vertical call spread for $1.40 on XYZ that's trading at $53. It expires in a few days but for whatever reason the buyer decided to exercise early and you were assigned. You're now short 100 shares at $50 while still long the 55 call. Because vertical spreads are risk defined trades, this isn't a big deal. You're still long the 55 call, so you have upside protection which will cap your losses at $360 (500-140) should the stock move past $55. You could take the risk of riding it out and hoping the stock falls or you can close out the trade, accept your losses and move on. The other scenario is assignment at expiration. This is actually the more dangerous case of the two. Imagine the same circumstances except it's expiration day (Friday). The stock closes at $53, the short call expires ITM, and the long call expires worthless. The short call is exercised and you're assigned. Because you no longer have upside protection anymore, this is not a defined risk trade but instead undefined. You're short the stock over the weekend and no one knows what the opening price will be Monday. If major news gets published Sunday the stock could soar. Or it could crater. This is not the kind of risk theta gang likes to take. You should always close out of your short options on the day of expiration if there's a real chance of them expiring ITM, especially when your long options will expire OTM. Otherwise at that point you're now delta gang. If both the short and long options are ITM at expiration, the most you can lose is the spread minus the premium received. You might as well close out to avoid the hassle of being assigned and exercising your long options. The specter of early assignment gets raised quite a bit around the time dividends are paid. The scenarios are different for calls and puts. You may have read that if the time value of an ITM call is less than the dividend, the call is at risk of being exercised early. This is not because the investor will make money from exercising. Let's illustrate with an example. To be paid a dividend you must own the stock before the ex-dividend date. Call owners do not receive dividends. If you buy the shares on or after the ex-date you won't be paid the dividend, so the call owner will exercise it the day before the ex-date. XYZ is trading at $50, and a 45 call is trading for $5.25. It's paying a $1 dividend and the ex-date is tomorrow so the buyer exercises the call. They're now long XYZ at $45. The ex-date arrives, the dividend is paid, and the stock is discounted by the amount of the dividend, and is trading at $49. They sell and wind up losing $0.25. What happened? Simply add up the numbers: (49 - 45) + 1 - 5.25 = -0.25 Whenever you exercise an option you throw away the extrinsic value. It doesn't matter how large the dividend is, since the stock's price is discounted by it on the ex-date. This is a losing trade. The only way the trade could make money is if the stock isn't discounted by the full amount. Sometimes this happens (other news gets published) but this is nothing more than a gamble if attempted. It's not an arbitrage opportunity. In fact, as the ex-date approaches you may see ITM call options trading at parity. This occurs because the stock's price will be discounted by the dividend, and so the option's intrinsic value will decrease as well. Buyers don't want to be left holding it going into the ex-date because they're going to lose money, so the selling pressure drives down the option's price to parity. It may even trade at a discount, presenting the earlier discount arbitrage opportunity. If the corresponding put with the same strike price as the call is trading for a price less than the dividend minus interest, then the call would be exercised and you would be assigned early. The trader long the call would exercise their call and buy the put, since this has the effect of recreating the same trade, except they receive the dividend. It's actually puts that offer a dividend arbitrage opportunity if the time value is less than the dividend. Using the example from earlier, a 55 put is trading at $5.25. You buy 100 shares of the stock at $50. Ex-date arrives, the stock is discounted to $49. You exercise the put, selling the stock for $55, collect the $1 dividend and profit a risk-free $0.75. Add up the numbers again: (55 - 50) + 1 - 5.25 = 0.75 You may already be guessing what happens to ITM puts as the ex-date approaches. Their price increases due to buying pressure, since the option's intrinsic value is about to increase by the dividend's amount. Once the time value at least matches the dividend the arbitrage opportunity no longer exists. One other scenario where you may be assigned is when the underlying is trading close to the option's strike price on expiration day. You don't know if it will expire ITM or not. This is called pin risk. What should you do if you're short? Close out. It's not worth the risk if the underlying moves adversely after market close and the options are now ITM. Just close out.
Should I close out of a position after collecting most of the premium earlier than expected?
This is a good idea. A lot of people follow a rule where if they've collected at least 50-80% of the premium they close out of the trade and move on to the next. They especially follow the rule when it happens much sooner than expected. Collecting the last tiny bit of premium isn't worth what you're risking (a relatively large amount of money to make a small amount). You're picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. What will happen one day is the underlying will make a dramatic adverse move, eliminating all of your profit and even putting you at a loss. You'll be cursing yourself for being greedy and not closing out earlier. A lot of brokers will even let you close out of a short options trade for no commission if you can buy it back for only five or ten cents.
My position moved against me. What can I do about it?
You have a few choices. 1. Close out Close the trade. Accept your losses and move on. How do you decide if it's a good idea to close? Ask yourself, if you didn't already have this position would you do it now? Would you open the position now given the current price and market circumstances? If not, close out. You're going to end up on the wrong side of trades sometimes. It happens to everyone. Sometimes closing out is the right idea. Other times it's not. You can't predict the future, so don't beat yourself up when you make the wrong decision. But always be mindful of risk management and keep your losses small. 2. Ride it out It's not unusual for option prices to spike only to collapse in price later on. If you haven't overleveraged yourself you have the funds available to ride out the trade. If the answer to the earlier question about opening the trade now is yes, it's reasonable to ride it out. You might even consider selling more contracts, but remember to never overleverage. Just make sure the HAPI (hope and pray index) isn't high, otherwise it's a sign you should close out. 3. Roll Rolling is a good idea when you think the trade in the short term is a bad idea, but long term will make money. You close out of your existing position and open a new one. This is ideally done simultaneously so you don't trade into the position one leg at a time, risking a poorer fill on price (slippage) or only getting only a partial execution and your positions are now wrong. Rolling up is rolling to a higher strike price. Rolling down is rolling to a lower strike price. And rolling out or forward is rolling to a later expiration date. Typically you roll out, and possibly up or down. Whatever you decide, the goal is to roll to a new position that you can sell for more than the loss on the old position. That way you can at least recover your losses, and if you're fortunate, still turn a profit.
I'm doing great! I'm winning on all my trades collecting that sweet, sweet, theta. I want to sell even MOAR!
Slow down there, speed racer. The second worst thing that happens to new traders is they have a series of winning trades (the worst being they lose all their money). They become overconfident, think they have it all figured out, and place a trade that's way too big for their account. They of course don't realize how clueless they are, discover to their horror the trade was completely wrong, and end up digging through the remains of their now smoldering account. You've made a bunch of winning trades. Great. Don't let it go to your head. Don't start scaling up massively simply because you've been winning lately. A better strategy is to risk a fixed percentage (e.g., 1-2%) of your account on each trade. As you make more money the dollar value of each trade increases but the percentage stays the same. That way when a trade ends up being a loser, which will happen, the damage is minor and you can still recover. Theta gang is not a get-rich-quick scheme. If you're going to commit to this you're going to be doing it long-term, which means slowly making money.
I like to sell options on stock indexes like the S&P 500. Anything I should know?
SPY is extremely popular for trading options but there is a much better alternative: SPX. Why?
Contract size: Both SPY and SPX options are for 100 shares, but SPX trades the full price of the S&P, so ten SPY contracts equal the notional value of one SPX contract. This cuts down commission costs by a factor of ten.
Cash settlement: SPX is cash settled so your account is either credited or debited and you never have to deal with any shares of the underlying.
No risk of assignment: Because SPX is cash settled there's no possibility of assignment. You'll never have to worry about early assignment.
Favorable tax treatment: SPX options are 1256 contracts, which means they have different tax treatment. It does not matter how long you hold 1256 contracts for, whether less than a minute or over a year, all trades are taxed the same: 60% of gains are treated as long-term and 40% short-term. Theta gang trades are almost always short term (one year or less), so this is the biggest reason why you should trade SPX over SPY. You'll get to keep more of your profits.
Minis are available: If you want to trade SPX options but don't have enough money, fear not. XSP is 1/10th the size of SPX, so it's the same size as SPY but has all of the benefits of SPX. The only downside is it's not as liquid.
If you like to trade options on other indexes (or commodities), you should consider futures options. Both futures and futures options are 1256 contracts and receive favorable tax treatment. EDIT: Hit character limit, rest of post here
Undertaking a fairly large project here. The aim is to give each team a plausible trade, signing, and draft pick over the 2020 NBA offseason in order to boost each team's prospects in the upcoming 2020-2021 season. While I can't promise they all will be, I'll try and keep the trades as player-specific, rather than something like "Knicks trading up to draft Ball" or something like that. I will also try (no promises) to do the trade in conjunction with one another. So it would ideally be proposed as 3-moves to make together, not 3 separate moves to make. Again, no promises, and I'll clarify if I'm suggest one as an alternative, but that will be the aim if I can find a pattern I like. Also, some players listed in free agency signings do have player options, so we'll treat them all as possibilities to a certain degree. And also, just because your team's player is listed as a trade move for one team doesn't mean they are moving them, just that there either have been rumors they'd be available, or simply that the listed team would be interested in acquiring them.
Draft Pick: G/F Isaac Okoro, Auburn With plenty of promising scorers, the Hawks should target Okoro to add to their defensive capacity on the wing. Okoro is a very selfless player, and would fit well into a lineup with Trae Young, John Collins and Clint Capela, amongst other promising young players. While ultimately, the Hawks may actually be best suited packaging this pick in a trade, if they stick at #6 overall, Okoro sure would be a good addition for Atlanta. Signing: F JaMychal Green, Los Angeles Clippers The Hawks have a few players who can fill minutes behind John Collins at the 4, such as De'Andre Hunter. But adding a clear backup for Collins would round the depth a bit cleaner. Insert JaMychal Green, a quality shooter (39% last season), who still be able to keep the post clear for Clint Capela, will giving Atlanta an excellent depth addition should he decline his player option in LAC and seek out a new opportunity. Trade: G Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers Oladipo would be interesting backcourt partner with Trae Young. In addition to being a high-caliber defender, Oladipo also has the ability to handle the ball when Young isn't on the court. While Indiana risks losing Oladipo down the road for nothing, shipping him off to the rising Hawks, who will be angling for a playoff run next season. Oladipo could be a big piece of that run, and perhaps even help them contend for more if returns to his All-Star form.
Draft Pick: F Patrick Williams, Florida State The Celtics have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA, and selecting back at #13 overall means they'll really just be able to target the best player available. If Patrick Williams is available at 13 however, he should definitely be considered, as his versatility would help continue loading up the Celtics bench. And with Williams being a bit raw offensively, the Celtics can afford to take a chance on his upside and develop him under Brad Stevens further. Signing: F Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets A 6'6 sharpshooter, Harris would be a fun add to the Celtics rotation. It may take some small moves to create the space for him, but adding the career 3-point marksman would fit in well with the versatile athletes around him like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, and help the second unit stretch the floor when he comes off the bench. Trade: C Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers Turner seems like he has been connected to the Celtics for a little while now, and it makes plenty of sense. The Pacers will likely be looking for players who fit better around Domantas Sabonis, and that could give an opportunity for the Celtics to move for Turner. Turner would fit well in the Celtics lineup at the center position, where right now the Celtics have some quality role players, but no star. By adding Turner, the Celtics would have one of the best all-around starting 5's in the entire league (Kemba-Smart-Brown-Tatum-Turner).
Draft Pick: G Josh Green, Arizona Finding players who can work alongside Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will be key, and Green's defense and off-ball ability make him well suited to this role. Picking #19 overall will make it difficult to add an instant impact rotation, but Green would have a good chance to find minutes with his skill set. Signing: C Aron Baynes, Phoenix Suns Should the Nets see themselves dishing out C Jarrett Allen in a blockbuster trade for a third star (see below), then a backup center becomes a big priority for the Nets. The solution here is Baynes, a hard-working center who had a career season shooting the ball. He'd fit nicely behind DeAndre Jordan. Trade: G Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards If Beal is available, the Nets should be keen to add him to the mix. Able to offer the most enticing players to any blockbuster package (Spencer Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen), the Nets could find their third star to pair with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant when the two return next season. Adding Beal to the mix would immediately vault the Nets all the way to Finals contenders, if the return of Durant and Irving themselves don't already accomplish that.
Draft Pick: PG LaMelo Ball, Australia If he's on the board at the #4 overall pick, the Bulls should be keen on bringing LaMelo in to the Windy City. Perhaps the Draft's best playmaker, he could fit well with scoring guards like Coby White and Zach LaVine, while operating a dangerous pick and pop with big guys like Markkanen. With the size and athleticism to match up well defensively, LaMelo's playmaking ability would help turn the Bulls into a legitimate playoff threat in 2020-2021. If LaMelo is off the board, the Bulls could go in several direction, perhaps even trading the pick if they find a suitable offer. Signing: C Meyers Leonard, Portland Trail Blazers The Bulls could use some depth in the frontcourt, and Leonard's range and 3-point ability make him a great player to add into a rotation that ranked in the bottom third of the league in their percentage from deep, and could potentially lose F Otto Porter if he opts out, one of their better marksmen. The question will likely be centered on how much money Leonard is aiming for, but if the numbers work, Leonard should be a serious target for Chicago. Trade: C Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers Embiid may or may not be available, there have been reports going both ways. But if the former Jayhawk is on the block after the 76ers quick exit from the playoffs, then Chicago should be very interested in acquiring him, even if means shipping out Wendell Carter and some other assets. With Markkanen capable of spacing the floor (34.5% shooter from deep), an Embiid addition would give Chicago two versatile bigs, given Embiid's proficiency from deep as well (34.8%). But most importantly, he'd be a scoring machine that would be the focal point of a fun, versatile Bulls roster that could push into playoff contention quickly with him leading the way.
Draft Pick: F Obi Toppin, Dayton With it almost assured that neither LaMelo Ball nor Anthony Edwards reaches Cleveland at #5, their hope should be in Toppin making his way past the Hornets and Bulls. A dynamic forward who excels in multiple facets of the game, he'd represent the best player available at this point in the draft, and an ideal addition for a talent-needy Cavaliers team. Whether replacing Kevin Love, or playing alongside him in looks, Toppin should stay in Ohio if at all possible. Signing: F Derrick Jones Jr., Miami Heat The Heat need cap space for upcoming extensions, so it's likely that Jones Jr, a versatile role player, will hit free agency. Cleveland is already reportedly interested, and it makes sense why. Providing quality defense on the wing, he's 23 years old, which fits Cleveland's rebuilding timeline, and should have time to round out and improve his offensive game (8.5 ppg, 28% from 3). The name of the game for the Cavs is to acquire talent, and Jones Jr. provides them with an intriguing piece with room to grow. Trade: Moving Kevin Love for Assets After landing a dynamic replacement for him, the Cavaliers are a team that doesn't necessarily have a specific player to target, but rather figure out what they could get for someone like Love, who shot 37% from deep last year. His salary could be problematic here, but even adding second round selections has proven useful for Cleveland (Kevin Porter Jr.).
Draft Pick: G Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky Maxey may not be a lethal shooter by any means, but his defense should make him a desired player for a Mavericks team that could use a defensive stopper to pair with Luka Doncic down the role. Maxey brings athleticism, ability to finish at the rim, and a decent mid-range game to the table, which should be enough, along with his defense, to make a desirable player for Mark Cuban's Mavericks. Signing: SF Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings Limited to what they can make happen with the Mid Level Exception or in a sign-and-trade, the Mavericks should get creative and add Bogdan Bogdanovic to the roster. The 27-year old wing would fit right at home with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, a high caliber shooter, especially on catch and shoot situations. If Sacramento doesn't believe they can fit Bogdanovic in with upcoming deals for Fox and Bagley, along with Hield potentially, landing some assets in a sign-and-trade would make sense. If no sign-and-trade, perhaps a 3&D wing like James Ennis (Orlando) could be an easier fit financially. Trade: PF Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic Whether Kristaps Porzingis fills more time at the four or the five, finding a way to pair him and Gordon together in a frontcourt would be fun to watch. Gordon's resurgence for the Magic this past season was a large reason they managed to make it into the playoffs. His defensive versatility and 3-point ability would make him an ideal third star to pair with Luka and Kristaps.
Draft Pick: F Jaden McDaniels, Washington The Nuggets were patient in bringing along Michael Porter Jr., who has stepped up big time during the Bubble. And with several Nuggets wings likely to depart in free agency (Millsap, Torrey Craig), adding a high potential piece like McDaniels to develop and even rotate in behind Grant and Porter Jr. would give Denver the opportunity to take a chance on someone like McDaniels. Signing: C Thon Maker, Detroit Pistons If Plumlee is in fact priced out of a return to Denver, finding a suitable replacement at center will be important. While Bol Bol could claim that spot, it's not a certainty, and thus, adding a three-level scorer at the 5 would be a wise insurance policy for the Nuggets. Trade: G Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans A high caliber veteran on a rebuilding roster, Holiday could be a great partner to pair with Jamal Murray in the backcourt. Less costly than someone like Bradley Beal, Holiday would be a much more realistic third star to bring in. A lineup with Holiday-Murray-Porter Jr.-Nokic and whoever else you want in that fifth spot seems deadly. With Gary Harris and plenty of other assets available, the Nuggets could offer an intriguing package for Holiday.
Draft Pick: G/F Devin Vassell, Florida State This may break from the mock drafts a bit, which usually have the Pistons adding a point guard. However, Vassell could be an interesting piece for Detroit to select, especially considering that the top point guard in the draft (LaMelo Ball) will not likely be available for Detroit at #7 overall. Instead, Detroit adds a long 3&D piece that could fit nicely in between Luke Kennard and Sekou Doumbouya long-term. And as for a point guard. . . Signing: PG Fred VanVleet, Toronto Raptors Reuniting Dwane Casey and VanVleet seems like an ideal pairing, especially the major need Detroit has at point guard. With Blake Griffin still a high caliber player when healthy, adding a win-now veteran like VanVleet could perhaps boost Detroit all the way to the playoffs next season if Griffin is playing. And at 26-years old, he's both an instant impact veteran as well as a possible long-term solution at the position. Trade:C Mo Bamba, Orlando Magic The Pistons may have found themself something with C Christian Wood, who emerged as a quality option for them in the wake of the Drummond trade. However, Wood's emergence was a very small sample size, raising some questions over how much stock Detroit would put into it. Acquiring Bamba would give them another starting caliber option, who has proven himself as a decent player off the bench behind Vucevic if Wood does manage to build on his promising play.
Golden State Warriors:
Draft Pick: C James Wiseman, Memphis (kinda) Should the Warriors not move this pick, Wiseman makes more sense than LaMelo Ball in terms of fit and need. Though both have questions of maturity and consistency, Wiseman's size and length would offer the Warriors a weapon they haven't really had alongside Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. If Wiseman can fit in the frontcourt with forward Draymond Green, and Golden State makes the pick, it should be Wiseman. Signing: PG D.J. Augustin, Orland Magic At 32-years old, Augustin likely won't command more than any of the exceptions that Golden State would be able to muster up. However, he still can make an impact, running the Warriors second unit when Curry and Thompson (both returning from injury) need a breather. A quality shooter as well (35%), Augustin to the Warriors makes plenty of sense as they attempt to return to their place at the top of the Western Conference. Trade: PF John Collins, Atlanta Hawks While the Warriors seem to be another team interested in acquiring All-Star G Bradley Beal, perhaps a move for John Collins would be more feasible. The beauty for Golden State is that they would likely be able to orchestrate this trade more along the lines of a pick swap than an outright deal using their #2 selection. If the Hawks are interested in pairing Trae Young and perhaps LaMelo Ball or Anthony Edwards, this could the way to get there. Collins' 3-point shooting and athleticism would make him a quality fit in Golden State.
Draft Pick: - - - No Selection in Upcoming Draft - - - The Rockets could always try buying a second round pick to add someone like C Nick Richards (Kentucky) or F Paul Eboua (Italy), but for now, they do not possess a pick. Signing: C DeMarcus Cousins, Los Angeles Lakers The Rockets have found success operating without a center, but should look to find a big man or two who fits alongside Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Cousins' season was derailed by injuries, but his ability to stretch the floor as well as battle big men like Davis or Jokic in the West make him an appealing option for the Rockets. Trade: F/C Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers Likely dependent on whether or not they made the signing above, the Rockets could also choose to trade for a big man to help stretch the floor. A decorated veteran, Love has plenty of experience playing with ball-handling stars, and so long as he continues to shoot a good clip from deep and rebound the ball, he'd be an invaluable piece for Houston as they attempt to win a title.
Draft Pick: F Killian Tillie, Gonzaga The Pacers do not posses a first round pick this year, so finding a useful rotational piece at #44 overall will be the challenge here. For the Pacers, finding a clean backup for Sabonis would be a welcome add. Tillie is a floor-stretcher at the four, hitting over 40% from deep every season at Gonzaga. Mixing him into the second unit with Doug McDermott on the wing and Gaga Bitadze at center should give the Pacers the depth they need to make a run. Signing: G/F Kent Bazemore, Sacramento Kings Should the Pacers decide to move Victor Oladipo before he departs in 2021 free agency, then adding a wing like Bazemore should help fill in the depth after Jeremy Lamb steps into Oladipo's spot. Bazemore saw his 3-point percentage climb after moving to Sacramento (38%), and if he's able to continue hitting at a quality rate like that, he'd be a valuable two-way wing that would be helpful for a hopeful contender like the Pacers. Trade: G Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards The Pacers have several very intriguing pieces that they could potentially move, notably G Victor Oladipo and C Myles Turner. Should they move Oladipo, perhaps using him as the centerpiece to a Bradley Beal piece would give Indiana a shot at the player who would most likely elevate their team beyond first-round playoff exits. Swapping Oladipo for Beal should be discussed if the Wizards find themselves willing to move Beal.
Los Angeles Clippers
Draft Pick: F/C Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State If JaMychal Green departs, finding another power forward would make sense for the Clippers to look for. Picking so late in the draft, #57 overall, limits their options in terms of finding an immediate contributor. Rather, targeting someone more developed like Wesson would be their best bet of finding a contributor, though they could easily opt for someone with more raw potential. Either way, Wesson's 3-point ability makes him an interesting option to develop into a rotational piece. Signing: F/C Marvin Williams, Milwaukee Bucks While the most likely signings for the Clippers will revolve around internal free agents, notably Marcus Morris and Montrezl Harrell, they still will have a bit of room for a smaller addition like Williams. If Harrell does depart, the Clippers could use another big to add to the rotation, and Marvin Williams would be a quality small ball center option for any teams looking to contend for a title, like the Clippers. Trade:G J.J. Redick, New Orleans Pelicans The Clippers have a very deep roster already, but Redick is exactly what you'd want to bring in to bolster your chances of winning it all. An elite, established marksmen, his shooting off the bench would be a big plus, and the defensive-minded Clippers already can compensate for him on that end of the floor. If they can make the money work, reuniting Redick and LAC would make sense as they chase a title.
Los Angeles Lakers
Draft Pick: G/F Desmond Bane, TCU Picking at #28 overall, the Lakers would be wise to target Bane here, as his crazy 3-point rate (43%) would make him an energizing option off of the bench. The Lakers have a handful of wings as well on expiring deals, and should they lose someone like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, bringing in Bane to boost their mediocre 3-point numbers could help LeBron win another title. Signing: C Bismack Biyombo, Charlotte Hornets The Lakers have had DeMarcus Cousins, JaVale McGee, and Dwight Howard all on the roster in 2019-2020. McGee has an option for 2021, so the Lakers could see some turnover at the center position if any of the aforementioned don't want to run it back with LeBron and AD. If they need a new center, Biyombo's defensive chops would make him a good fit as a backup or rotational center to help the Lakers win a title. Trade:PG Derrick Rose, Detroit Pistons Ensuring that the Lakers can generate offense with their stars getting a breather is crucial for any contender. Derrick Rose may no longer be the star he was, but he's still a valuable piece off the bench, and would fit quite well leading the Lakers second unit, should Rajon Rondo decline his player option.
Draft Pick: C Jalen Smith, Maryland The Heat have found tons of success with Bam Adebayo at the five, but for a team as deep as Miami, bringing in a high potential big man like Jalen Smith could give them a fun piece to develop. A quality three point shooter already, ironing out his defensive inconsistencies would give the Heat a quality contributor with the #20 overall pick. Signing: F Dario Saric, Phoenix Suns With Adebayo more of a playmaking Energizer Bunny, bringing in another big who can play alongside Adebayo, or relieve him, would be wise. The Heat will likely focus on bringing back players from their current roster, which would likely take them out of the running for Danilo Gallinari, for example. Instead, Saric could provide the same style of play at a more affordable cost. And that's important because.... Trade: Nothing Big...for now Miami has a claim to one of the deepest rosters in the league. Their system works and they have the financial flexibility and assets to go big game hunting. With a poor free agency market this year though, the Heat should hold tight for another season and take a shot at a superstar like Giannis Antetokounmpo, and then pair him (or whoever) with one of the stacked free agents on the docket (Kawhi, LeBron, Beal, Gobert, Paul, etc). Adding DeMar DeRozan right now may be tempting, but don't do it, hold tight...for now.
Draft Pick: PG Devon Dotson, Kansas With multiple guards on expiring contracts, the Bucks should aim for a guard capable of providing them minutes in the Draft. An absolute blur, Dotson is one of the most physically impressive prospects in the Draft, though he'll need to work on deep range shooting before pairing up with Giannis. For now, he'd be a fun piece to add off the bench, able to push the ball in transition opportunities. Signing: F Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets With a physical freak like Giannis leading the charge, surrounding him with shooters is the best course of action, and Harris shoots incredibly well. The Bucks may need to get create to afford Harris, but if they can make the money work, they likely won't find anyone as impactful as Harris in their pursuit of an NBA title. Trade: F Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings Bjelica had a quality season for the Kings, and while they'd likely want to hang onto him, the Bucks should consider making a call and working something. A 6'10 big with fantastic floor stretching ability (42% from 3), he'd represent a significant upgrade from the older Ersan Ilyasova. All about adding shooters, and even relative upgrades should be considered if the Bucks can afford it.
Draft Pick: SG Anthony Edwards, Georgia This is a fairly easy one, as the Timberwolves hold the top pick and will have their choice of player here. The most likely, and most logical, is Edwards, who would pair with D'Angelo Russell in a high upside backcourt in Minnesota. While not an elite shooter, Edwards finds plenty of ways to score, and should continue to do so in the NBA, as Russell and Karl Anthony Towns take up the most attention from opponents. Signing: F/C Montrezl Harrell, Los Angeles Clippers The Timberwolves could give themselves a defensive boost by bringing in Harrell, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year. Whether playing the four or five, Harrell would give the Timberwolves a high intensity option that can play alongside Karl-Anthony Towns or relieving him when he's off the floor. Trade: G/F Josh Richardson, Philadelphia 76ers If the 76ers do enter a fire-sale, the Timberwolves should put in a call for two-way wing Josh Richardson. Still only 26-years old, Richardson has plenty of upside for a relatively young team like the Timberwolves. Adding him to the mix would give them another capable weapon around their stars.
New Orleans Pelicans
Draft Pick: F Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt A 3-point marksman to fill in on the wings would be the exactly the type of player to put around a playmaker like Zion Williamson. Nesmith's large wingspan (6'10) would be an asset as he develops into a top two-way wing, and doing so in New Orleans would be an excellent move for the Pelicans to pursue with the #13 overall selection. Signing: PG Austin Rivers, Houston Rockets If the Pelicans look to accumulate assets by moving Lonzo Ball or Jrue Holiday, than bringing a quality shooting point guard makes a lot of sense. Rivers shot 36% on 4 attempts per game in Houston, and showed the ability to play with more ball-dominant players in Russell Westbrook and James Harden, which would suit him well in a lineup featuring Zion Williamson. And at 28 years old, Rivers still has plenty of good years left in him as the Pelicans work towards contending status. Trade: Whatever Assets They Can Get From Redick or Holiday The Pelicans don't bring a specific target to mind, but rather as a team who should aim to accumulate assets. Gathering picks or promising young players would position them well to make a move for a bigger superstar down the road, one who, paired with Zion Williamson, would propel them into championship contention. And with both Redick and Jrue Holiday in town, the Pelicans have some intriguing pieces to dangle for teams looking to win now.
New York Knicks
Draft Pick: PG Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State Unless the Knicks trade up to acquire PG LaMelo Ball (which they are reportedly looking at), the Knicks should feel comfortable picking the best guard on the board at #8 overall, as there are several quality options. Haliburton, however, is the ideal target here, as he's a high IQ player with a good 3-point shot and excellent defense, he would fit Thibodeau's style pretty well, and presents less of a risk than Cole Anthony or Killian Hayes for example. Signing: F Danilo Gallinari, Oklahoma City Thunder With Mitchell Robinson not a shooting threat in the slightest, the Knicks should target someone who can stretch the floor from the four position. The best name available there is OKC's Danilo Gallinari, who nearly went to the Heat, but now is a free agent. Whoever the Knicks end up with at point guard will be well-aided by the floor stretching capacity of Gallinari, a 40% shooter the past two seasons. Trade: PG Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder Another name out of OKC, the Knicks should feel no issues drafting a point guard and trading for Chris Paul. First and foremost, the Knicks need to rebuild a winning culture, and bringing in Paul and Tom Thibodeau are good first steps towards that end. Likewise, even if the Knicks do select a point guard in the draft, Paul has shown himself quite adept at sharing the floor with other ball-handlers, like he did in Houston with James Harden, and as he did this past year in OKC with Shai-Gilgeous Alexander and Dennis Schroeder. A great leader, player and mentor, Paul would help the Knicks build the right environment to end their playoff drought.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Draft Pick: C Isaiah Stewart, Washington If the Thunder move Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari walks, they could be in for a rebuild. Stewart may be raw and underdeveloped offensively, but at 19-years old, he has time to develop his offensive game. Meanwhile, his wingspan, strength and motor give him major upside as a defensive stopper in the post. With Nerlens Noel potentially departing OKC, there could even be minutes for Stewart to step into as a rookie and get his feet wet. Signing: F Otto Porter, Chicago Bulls The Thunder could possibly be losing their best shooter (Gallinari) and their best defender (Roberson). Finding someone who can provide a little bit of both could work for them, with Porter shooting 38% last year in Chicago. An easy fit in between OKC's high powered guard duo and center Steven Adams, Porter could serve as either a reinforcement for another playoff run, or a piece with some long-term upside. Trade: F Nemanja Bjelica, Sacramento Kings If the Thunder aren't able to retain Danilo Gallinari, perhaps bringing in Bjelica could give them a similar styled replacement. As mentioned already, Bjelica is a floor stretching forward (42% clip) that would put another dangerous shooter around Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous Alexander.
Draft Pick: G Theo Maledon, France The Magic need someone to boost their struggling offense, and Maledon's craftiness as a ball-handler and off-ball shooting ability (37% from deep) should peak the Magic's interest. While Markelle Fultz has rebuilt himself into a potential long-term point guard, Maledon should seamlessly fit in next to him, and even provide minutes backing him up when Fultz heads to the bench. Signing: G Wesley Matthews, Milwaukee Bucks If Evan Fournier opts in, the Magic won't have the money to add bigger names, but Matthews would fit in well after finding a role as a rotational two-way guard. And even if the Magic do see Fournier depart elsewhere, Matthews' veteran experience could help their young core figure things out. Trade: G/F Caris LeVert, Brooklyn Nets If the Nets have interest in bringing in Aaron Gordon to add to the Irving-Durant duo, the Magic should be intent on getting Caris LeVert shipped to them as part of the deal. Only 26 years old, Levert averaged 19 points per game while fueling a KD-less Nets team to the playoffs. A young core of Fultz, Levert, Isaac, and Bamba is a group that you can build around.
Draft Pick: G Cassius Stanley, Duke The 76ers could use guards and shooting, and with limited financial flexibility, may need to find it in the NBA Draft. Thus, Stanley to Philly, where his elite athleticism and quality range (36%), would be a welcome addition to the 76ers. If he's still on the board at #21 overall, Stanley would make plenty of sense for the 76ers. Signing: PG Goran Dragic, Miami Heat The 76ers management has said they intend to keep Simmons and Embiid together, but if they don't keep that intention, bringing in Dragic to run the offense could be the move to make. Still productive for the Heat at 33-years old, Dragic would likely pair with Embiid better than Simmons did, as indicated by his shooting ability (37%). Trade: PG Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder Breaking the mold here, should the 76ers decide to move Simmons, but not bring in Dragic, perhaps a bigger move would solve the question better. While the Knicks are the one most often linked to a move for Paul, the 76ers may want to consider adding the veteran PG to the mix, especially if they decide to breakup the Simmons-Embiid duo, and ship Ben Simmons out. Paul's veteran experience and versatile game should make him a much better sidekick for Embiid than Simmons managed to be.
Draft Pick: PG Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama The Suns needs someone in the backcourt, preferably someone who can work with Devin Booker, and run the offense when he's off the floor. That someone could be Lewis Jr., who averaged 19 points per game at Alabama and was able to knock down over 36% of his threes over two seasons. Finding a quality playmaker to carry the load could give them the breakthrough they need. Sigining: F Moe Harkless, Los Angeles Clippers Current starting wing Mikal Bridges was a solid compliment to Booker and Ayton this past season, but adding some more depth, especially a defensive geared piece, would give the Suns some switchy wings who can help them slow opponents down in the playoffs next year. Harkless will be a fairly cheap way of doing so. Trade: F Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls Putting Markkanen in an offense led by Devin Booker and DeAndre Ayton could give him the space he needs to regain some of the production he had earlier in Chicago. Able to shoot off the pick-and-pop, Markkanen won't need to crowd in on Ayton to be an effective piece to the Suns offense.
Portland Trail Blazers
Draft Pick: F Saddiq Bey, Villanova With two picks in the first round (16 and 29), the Blazers will have the flexibility to fill multiple needs with the most talented players on the board. For that first selection, Bey would be a quality addition, giving the Blazers wing defense and reliable shooting. A second team unit featuring Trent, Little and Bey would be very versatile. Then, with that second first rounder, targeting a big man like Jalen Smith would be a quality Draft for the Blazers. Signing: C Mason Plumlee, Denver Nuggets With Hassan Whiteside hitting free agency, it's likely the Blazers could find themselves in need of a backup center if Whiteside is unwilling to accept a role as a backup. Thus, Mason Plumlee could be an option, as a veteran big with a quality motor who has been a serviceable option for Denver. Plumlee may not fill up the stat sheet, but in Game 6 of the Playoffs, made a direct impact for Denver with a handful of offensive rebounds and high energy. That kind of team player who work well for the Blazers rotation. Trade: PG Patty Mills, San Antonio Spurs. The Blazers have a quality starting lineup with Lillard-McCollum-Ariza-Collins/Melo-Nurkic. What they still could use is a backup point guard to help generate some points when Lillard takes a breather. Perhaps swinging a deal to bring in Patty Mills to an actual contender would be a good match. Mills currently backups Dejounte Murray in San Antonio, but his quality production and veteran leadership could be a boost for the Blazers.
Draft Pick: G/F Devin Vassell, Florida State With De'Aaron Fox running the point, the Kings need to surround him with shooters like Vassell. A 6'10 wingspan and 42% clip from deep, Vassell would be an ideal fit on the wing, and could help the Kings make the push into the playoffs by bolstering their offense and defense. Signing: F Jerami Grant, Denver Nuggets If Grant opts out of his deal in Denver, he'd give the Kings a two-way option at the 3 or 4, an excellent depth addition to add in rotation with Jabari Parker, Bjelica, and Harrison Barnes. And of course, important to note when playing with De'Aaron Fox, Grant has a quality shot from deep, hitting 39% for the Nuggets this season. Trade: F Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers If the Kings are moving G Buddy Hield, then perhaps he could interest the Lakers, who would likely want to acquire a more high profile guard to compliment LeBron and Davis. Thus, a move for Kuzma could be in play, as he'd give the Kings a versatile wing to pair with Harrison Barnes. Kuzma would also compromise a promising young trio along with De'Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III.
San Antonio Spurs
Draft Pick: F Deni Avdija, Israel If there's any team that should be angling to move up should Avdija slide, the Spurs would likely be one of them. An excellent distributing big wing, capable of giving the Spurs minutes at the 4, Avdija seems like a tailor made fit for a Gregg Popovich offensive system. Between his schematic fit and his upside, he'd be the ideal player for the Spurs to come away with on Draft day. Signing: F/C Bobby Portis, New York Knicks Portis has plenty of upside if he can get straightened out, and if anyone is going to get the most out of Portis and teach him to play in a system, it's Gregg Popovich. If he succeeds, the Spurs find themselves with an offensive forward who can score in multiple ways, or even another trade piece if they want to sell high. Either way, taking a gamble on Portis could pay off for a program needing a new direction. Trade: As Many Picks as They Can Get The Spurs run is over for now. They did well to bring in some fun pieces in the Kawhi trade, but the Spurs need to enter a rebuild or risk an extended play in no man's land. Selling on DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Patrick Mills, and Marco Belinelli should be the aim. Get picks, get promising young players, and set yourself up to rebuild quickly. If one of these guys can even help you move up and select Avdija, do it.
Draft Pick: F Robert Woodard II, Mississippi State An athletic forward with a good build, Woodard could be a steal if Toronto is able to land him at #29 overall. After taking a major leap in between his freshman year and sophomore year, Woodard developed an outside shot (43%). For a team that may not be able to retain Serge Ibaka, finding another big to provide some range on the outside would give them a quality replacement. Signing: PG Austin Rivers, Houston Rockets Should Toronto be unable to retain Fred VanVleet, finding a guard capable of picking up minutes at point guard and shooting guard would serve them well. Rivers may not the same caliber of VanVleet, but can provide the versatility needed, along with a quality enough shot from deep (36% in 2019-2020). Trade: SG Luke Kennard, Detroit Pistons Thinking outside the box here, if the Raptors aren't comfortable paying VanVleet the rate it'd take to retain him, perhaps a sign-and-trade for a team like Detroit could send them back something useful, rather than letting VanVleet walk entirely. A sharp shooting guard (40% over his career, Kennard could fit well in Toronto, either as a long-term solution, or a piece to flip as part of a package at the deadline for a bigger star post-Kawhi.
Draft Pick: C Aleksej Pokusevski, Serbia A unicorn big-man, Pokusevski is a mobile center with fantastic height (7'0) and the ability to knock down shots beyond the arc (32% shooter). While he'll need to get bigger (only 205 lbs and lanky), he's still very young and should be able to develop into a starting caliber player down the road. And selecting at #23 overall, that's really what you're looking for. Signing: G Langston Galloway, Detroit Pistons While the main signing priorities for Utah will be re-signing Jordan Clarkson and extending Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz could also look to add another guard into the rotation, and Galloway's versatility and shooting make him an easy player to fit into any rotation. Trade: PG Dennis Smith Jr., New York Knicks The Jazz would have some quality offers if they did move C Rudy Gobert. But assuming they keep Gobert, the Jazz target someone to give their second unit a boost, especially as an aging Mike Conley drops off from the All-Star player he was. Smith looked much better earlier in his career, averaging around 15 points per game through his first three seasons. If he can recapture that, he could even play his way into the direct replacement for Conley.
Draft Pick: F Isaac Okoro, Auburn This one makes more sense than a lot of these other picks, in my opinion. The Wizards are horrendous on the defensive end, and Okoro is the best wing defender in this year's Draft. Being able to lock up opposing team's top scorer will allow Beal and Wall to go to work on the offensive end, lightening their load a good deal. Signing: F Moe Harkless, Los Angeles Clippers Bringing in one defensive minded rookie won't solve the defensive woes of the Wizards. With not a ton of cap flexibility, the Wizards should aim for someone relatively cheap, who can fill a clear role, and help develop young players like Rui Hachimura. That someone would likely be Moe Harkless. Trade: The Biggest Haul They Can Get for Beal I know the Wizards have said they want to see what Beal and Wall can do next season, rather than moving Beal now. But I personally think that's a mistake, and that cashing in on Beal, and getting a jump start on the rebuild is the way to go. The Wall-Beal duo didn't accomplish anything before Wall tore his Achilles, and the longer they wait, the more likely they get screwed over. If they can land two of Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, or Jarrett Allen from the Nets, I think that would be the best package, but the aim is less so a specific target than just hoard what they can get. Anyways, this took a little while to put together, so I hope you don't totally hate it. Let me know if you agree, disagree, think someone would fit better!
Hi, I’m u/CokeZ3ro and welcome to the Falcons’ 2020 Offseason review
2019 Record 7-9 (4-2 in division); 2nd Place in the NFC South I’ll be starting off with a quick tl;dr for those who can’t read the whole post Coaching Changes: Officially promoting the 2 Defensive coaches that saved the season, new TE Coach, and some minor stuff. Free Agency: Todd Gurley and Dante Fowler were the biggest splashes. Otherwise we filled depth. Draft: Filled a CB need with A.J. Terrell, supplied the DT pass rush with Marlon Davidson, filled depth. Quick Roster Evaluation:
QB: We got Matty Ice and Matty Schaub, we good
RB: Gurley and his friends run a committee. Likely nobody will stick out as great, but let’s just hope it gets the job done.
WR: Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and a boat load of depth. It’s great here.
TE: We’re betting on Hayden Hurst being better than the Ravens showed.
OL: Last year’s rookies fill their roles. Let’s hope for no injuries and pray that they don’t try to kill Matt Ryan again.
DE: Please get sacks Dante Fowler, and hopefully Takk McKinely will play for money. Big question mark here.
DT: Grady Jarret and friends Tyeler Davison (good against run) and Marlon Davidson (good at pass rush)
LB: Deion Jones continues to play well, and he has good company, it’s a strong unit.
S: Ricardo Allen, Keanu Neal, and Damontae Kazee are back together. If Neal’s ACL doesn’t explode again, they should be really good.
CB: A bunch of hopeful younglings (two 2nd years and a rookie). This is the team’s greatest question mark.
Specialists: Younghoe Koo is back and we have a punter fight.
Now for the in-depth breakdown
Defensive Coordinator: Raheem Morris Would you believe it, Morris started the season coaching offense? The once Head Coach of the Buccaneers served as an assistant coach & wide receivers’ coach for the first half of the 2019 season. After the disastrous start to the season, one of the changes made was to move Morris over to Secondary Coach, where he shared defensive calling responsibility with Ben Ulrich. The benefits of that change (and others) were immediate. Over the final eight games, the team went 6-2 and the defense went from having the lowest amount of takeaways in the first half of the season (4) to finishing with the second-most in the NFL (16) after Week 9. The defense also vaulted from the bottom of the league rankings to the top 10 in sacks (32nd to 10th), scoring efficiency (32nd to 9th), and red zone efficiency (31st to 6th) over the final eight weeks of the season. As such, Quinn is keeping the coaching changes he made in place, with the hope we’ll see similar results for the whole season this year. Why Morris instead of Ulbrich? Morris was in charge of the potentially more difficult 3rd downplay calls this past season, and he has a long resume of defensive coaching that will enable him to naturally fill the role. Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers: Jeff Ulbrich While Ulbrich didn’t get DC, his efforts during the 2019 season were not unrewarded. Taking play calling responsibilities for a majority of defensive plays after the bye week, Ulbrich showed he was more than capable as a coach and strategist. The accolades that I gave to Morris earlier can just as well go to Ulbrich as well. This will be Ulbrich’s 6th year as Linebackers Coach, a stint that has provided the Falcons’ most consistent defensive unit in recent years. Tight Ends Coach: Ben Steele After the retirement of Mike Mularkey in January, Steele was promoted up from Offensive Assistant. Steele is a veteran of Dirk Koetter’s offense, having worked under him as the Buccaneers’ Tight End Coach during the 2017 season. Credited as a contributing factor in Austin Hooper’s great season, Steele will now have the important responsibility of coaching a vastly different tight end group. Defensive Line (Des)/Run Game Coordinator: Tosh Lupoi Last season Lupoi served as the Browns’ Defensive Line Coach. On the falcons he will specifically focus on defensive ends (Jess Simpson will coach Defensive Tackles more specifically this year). Secondary/Defensive Pass Game Coordinator: Joe Whitt Jr. Another Cleveland coach, Whitt served in the same role last season at Cleveland. Minor Changes: Aden Durde to Outside Linebacker Coach ; Chad Walker to Safeties Coach ; Danny Beyer as offensive assistant. Overall Thoughts: The two biggest coaching “moves” basically happened during the season, the titles are just official now. The hope is that Quinn, Morris, and Ulbrich can once again find whatever defensive magic came to them in the 2nd half of the season. It was this change in the defense that “saved” the season, and prevented the whole structure from being torn down, so the pressure is certainly there. If the defense carries any similarity to last year’s finish, it will be one of the better defenses in the NFL. But if I’ve learned anything over the past couple of seasons, it’s that nobody can predict how the Falcons’ defense will play. Beyond defense, tight end is the most important coaching to watch. With Hooper’s departure, the position is an unknown, with the hope that Hayden Hurst will live up to his draft potential. Steele will hopefully play an important role in improving and integrating the group into the offense. Overall, it’s a much calmer coaching offseason than last year, with the hope that the energy from the end of last year will continue.
1-yr / $750,000
3 yr / $4,300,000 / $1,950,000 Gtd
3 yr / $12,000,000 / $4,550,00 Gtd
5th Round Tender / $2,133,000
1 yr / $950,000
1 yr. / $1,187,500 / $137,500 Gtd
1 yr Extension / $4,500,000 / $3,250,000 Gtd
Re-sign Thoughts: Nothing too major or risky here. If Koo can keep up the highs of what he did last year, we should be in good shape (more onsides would be cool too). The others serve helpful depth roles that we’ll need this year. My one issue is with the size of Keith Smith’s contract, it feels pretty large for how much he contributed last season. But fullbacks are a dying commodity, so maybe there’s bigger plans for him.
Hurst + 2020 4th for 2020 2nd + 2020 5th
Harris for 2021 7th
Trade Thoughts: With Austin Hooper’s departure, the Falcons were left with a greatly depleted group, and a huge question mark at the position. Hurst’s trade hoped to solve that question and profit off of the 1st round pick. Hurst is still an unknown however, since he did not see ample playing time in Baltimore thanks to the likes of Mark Andrews. If Hurst lives up to the potential that Baltimore drafted him for, the cost will have been well worth it, but the jury is still out. Harris is a low-cost attempt to put some depth into one of the teams most worrying positions. Nice if it pans out well, not too painful if it doesn’t. Free Agent Signings
San Francisco 49ers
1 yr / $1,050,000
1 yr / $910,000
Dante Fowler Jr.
Los Angeles Rams
3 yr / $45,000,000 / $23,000,000 Gtd
Buffalo Bills (2018)
1 yr / $910,000
New York Jets (2018)
1 yr / $750,000
Los Angeles Rams
1 yr / $5,500,000 / $5,500,000 Gtd
1 yr / $860,000
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1yr / $910,000
Free Agency Addition Thoughts: I would like to thank the Los Angeles Rams for our two splashiest signings. Both Gurley and Fowler will likely be the best players at their positions, and the team desperately needs them to at least perform averagely. If Fowler is able to put up the same numbers he did last season it would be a godsend to a struggling Falcons’ D-Line. While it’s likely that the Falcons will employ an RB Committee this year, Gurley’s skills will be vital in tough situations. Even a shadow of his former self would be the best RB on the team. If you hadn’t heard, Gurley and Treadwell’s signing complete an offense potentially composed entirely of 1st Round draft picks. I don’t expect the other signees to see the field much, but any depth is always appreciated.
Departures Thoughts: Per usual this list features a mix of blown expectations, too expensive, and free agent losses. Hooper is probably the most painful loss, but he was going to be too expensive to re sign after his explosive season. Trufant’s release was inevitable sadly, he hasn’t played up to his 2015 level and the contract he earned. Unfortunately it leaves the cornerbacks without a veteran presence. Freeman was way too expensive for the pitiful numbers he’s put up recently. He has an intense injury bug, and hasn’t been that great when he was able to play. Campbell also sucks some since he was pretty decent at LB, he played a big role when Deion Jones was injured. The terror of Vic Beasley is finally over, but our DE position is still desperately weak.
A.J. Terrell: While many fans were pining for a Defensive Tackle, Cornerback was a huge need after the release of Desmond Trufant. In typical Falcon’s fashion they drafted someone nobody had mocked them to. In Terrell Atlanta will gain a large, physical outside corner, capable of playing both man and zone. Terrell is great at both reading the quarterback, and being physically present over the receivers he covers. While he only faced 30 targets before the playoffs last year, he still earned First Team All-ACC. I’ll acknowledge his LSU game before someone else does. It wasn’t great, but nobody played well against Jamar Chase last season, and it was ultimately one day. If there are doubts on how he’ll play against good competition on the big stage, look no further than the previous national championship where he scored a Pick-6 against Tua. Somethings Terrell can improve on include improvements at the catch, and more physicality for NFL level play. Ultimately, while picking Terrell left questions on the D-Line, it filled a depleted cornerback group with a starting presence, and was debatably the best option available for them without a trade up. B Marlon Davidson: While Derrick Brown attracted all the hype coming into the draft, it was actually Davidson who led the team in sacks (6.5-7.5 source dependent). Roughly a fourth of his tackles were for loss, as he and Brown dominated opposing lines. Ideally, Davidson will form a similar DT partnership with stalwart Grady Jarrett and give some bite to a lacking Falcons D-line. Davidson posses a great ability to penetrate opposing lines to disrupt the play, with tackles and sacks to boot. Furthermore, he also serves well to stand tall to halt runningbacks in their tracks. One worry of note is that Davidson played a decent amount of snaps as an edge player at Auburn. With Atlanta he’ll predominantly be lined up at tackle, especially given the defenses leaning towards 4-3, so he’ll need to adjust to that. This past draft was one deep at Defensive Tackle, and the Falcons have found a great partner for Jarrett. A Matt Hennessey: Finally I can expand my gameday drinking options. But in all seriousness Hennessy serves to fill a need that doesn’t exist quite yet. This year is Alex Mack’s last season on contract with the Falcons, so the position is an unknown next year. Hennessey will train to potentially fill his role come next year and will compete for and play at Left Guard in the meantime (he played guard some in college). It may seem dubious with our commitment to the O-line through FA and the Draft last season, but Matt Ryan was sacked for a career high 48 times last season. More help is needed. Hennessey excels at moving quickly to his one or two assignments and will commit to extending the play beyond that point. He needs to work on his strength and size if he is to maintain a spot on the starting lineup. Ultimately, he’s a solid investment for the future, with benefits this season. And I really hope he pans out because his name is great. A- Mykal Walker: After departures in the past season, Linebacker has become a thin position behind Deion Jones and Foye Oluokun. Walker has the size and strength to be good at the position. He displays position flexibility, playing both edge and inside linebacker in college. His movements remain somewhat stiff in comparison to what is needed, but there’s time to work on that. Walker will likely see both rotation at LB and special teams play. B Jaylinn Hawkins: Speaking of position flexibility, Hawkins started at wide receiver, moved to cornerback, before finishing college at safety. Hawkins as good speed and does well to create turnovers, something the Falcons have been lacking. While he’s considered a reach in the 4th, he’ll fill in some much-needed safety depth, considering the injury history of Allen and Neal. Otherwise he’ll serve well on special teams. C+ Sterling Hofrichter: Hofrichter was brought in to give punter Ryan Allen some competition going into the season. Hofrichter was a 4-time Ray Guy award nominee, so he’s no schmuck himself, and was great at giving airtime. It’s low risk but begs the question why it couldn’t have been an UFDA signing. Oh well. C
Undrafted Free Agent Signings
CB Tyler Hall, DE Austin Edwards, DT Hinwa Allieu, FB Mikey Daniel, LB Jordan Williams, LB Ray Wilborn, DE Bryson Young, DT Sailosi Latu, C Austin Capps, CB Delrick Abrams, LT Hunter Atkinson, TE Caleb Repp, WR Jalen McCleskey, RT Scottie Dill, WR Chris Rowland, TE Jared Pinkney, CB Rojesterman Farris, OT Evin Ksiezarczyk, WR Juwan Green and OG Justin Gooseberry.
Training Camp Battles
RB2*: I put an apostrophe here because a lot will depend on who Gurley shapes up. While Gurley is presumed to be the important situation and 3rd down back, it’s less clear who will be the primary back to relieve him. And that of course is assuming there will be someone who stands out. The two primary candidates are Ito Smith and Brian Hill, who both performed serviceably last season behind Freeman. Quadree Ollison and UDFA Mikey Daniel serve as candidates for short yardage situations. WR3&4: We have a lot of receivers. Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley are the obvious 1&2, but there’s less certainty after that. Russell Gage will most likely play as WR3, he was the best of the group last season. Behind him is an extensive list including: Laquon Treadwell, Olamide Zacchaeus, Christian Blake, Brandon Powell, Devin Gray, and Chris Roland; to name a few. It’s easily the deepest group on the team. TE2: Unless things go terribly; Hayden Hurst will be the starting tight end. Jaeden Graham leads the charge of potential candidates for the backup spot. Graham was a UDFA who made the 53-man roster last season, so he has the most experience of any of the candidate. Graham’s competition includes Carson Meier, Jared Pinkey, and Caleb Repp. LG: James Carpenter started 11 games at guard last year, which he played serviceably, but Quinn has indicated that there will be competition for the position. Hennessey is the main competition for the spot, even though center will be his long-term position. I would imagine they DT2: This competition will be to determine the how often and the roles in which either Tyeler Davison or Marlon Davidson will play. Wow those last names will be confusing to hear. Davison has proven himself to be an asset to halting the run game, while Davidson provides a more potent pass rush. If Davidson is able to adapt to increased play as a run blocking DT, I could see him taking the starting spot later on in the season, but it’ll take some time. LB Depth: Behind Deion Jones and Foye Oluokun the position is very untested. It’s likely rookie Mykal Walker will see playing time, but the 4th spot will be contentious. Contenders include LaRoy Reynolds, Ahmad Thomas, Edmond Robinson, and Jordan Williams. Punter: Hell yeah, we have a punter fight. Ryan Allen started 8 games last year after Matt Bosher bit the bullet, but we’ve spent a draft pick on Sterling Hofrichter to challenge him. Supposedly, the ability to pin punts within the red zone will be a key factor in determining the starter. May the better punter win and do it for the culture.
Likely Starting Lineup
QB: Matt Ryan Even coming off a lesser season, Ryan remains one of the better Quarterbacks in the league. No issue here as long as the O-line doesn’t conspire to kill him again. RB: Todd Gurley, kind of . Given the uncertainty around Gurley’s knee, he will be receiving a limited workload this season. So, while he may be the RB1 by all indications, he’s unlikely to put up any RB1 numbers, and the RB position will be committee based on most downs. Now if he found some of Russell Wilson’s magic water and is suddenly fine, then you could easily count him as RB1. FB: Keith Smith I’ll say the same thing I said for Ricky Ortiz last year. It’s a hard life for Fullbacks in today’s NFL, and Smith is no Patrick DiMarco, he’s going to have to prove his worth. TE: Hayden Hurst, Jaeden Smith You don’t spend the draft capital we did on Hurst and not start him, and he’s likely the best TE regardless. My bet is on Smith to earn the TE position, but his use will be limited. WR: Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage Above the smorgasbord that is our WR depth, these three are set nicely within their roles. While Sanu is missed personally, his role is well filled by Gage, and Ridley continues to improve. LT: Jake Matthews Last year Matthews was one of the best players on the line last year. He will continue to hold up the vital position. LG: James Carpenter Carpenter has done decent in the past but he’s definitely facing pressure for his spot this year. Matt Hennessey may take the start later on, but I would bet on Carpenter starting with it, due to experience if anything. C: Alex Mack Even after a down season last year, Mack is one of the most important players on the offense. Hopefully, his intelligent play will bring the offense back to glory. RG: Chris Lindstrom When he was healthy Lindstrom proved he was more than capable of playing the position well. Now we can only hope he stays healthy this season. RT: Kaleb McGary Last season McGary proved himself capable as an NFL tackle, winning the spot and performing decently enough with it, for the most part. However, McGary had an issue with giving up sacks (13, 1st according to PFF), a trend which must be nipped quickly. DE: Dante Fowler, Takk McKinley This group will have to step up this year as the team has had poor sack numbers in recent years. This year is a contract year for McKinley, so hopefully that will drive some results. Fowler’s performance last year gives some hope, but ultimately, it’s unknown if he can sustain those numbers. DT: Grady Jarret, Tyeler Davison I have no doubt in both Grady’s run stopping ability and his pass rush. I think at the start of the season Tyeler Davison will see play more often as Davidson works to improve. Especially with how unsure practice will be this season, Davison is the safer pick. LB: Deion Jones, Foye Oluokun 2 great recent draft successes, Oluokun especially has risen and proven his worth in recent seasons. This should be a pretty good group if the injury bug leaves Deion alone. CB: Kendall Sheffield, A.J. Terrell, Isiah Oliver Christ this is a young group. Sheffield and Oliver are both on their sophomore year, and Terrell is the shiny 1st round pick. As such, this is probably the greatest unknown on the entire team. Sheffield was surprisingly good last year (Those OSU corners are something else), Oliver had good flashes, and Terrell offer hopeful potential. Alternatively, they may all crumble to the harsh challenges of being a CB in the LOADED NFC South. Who knows? S: Ricardo Allen, Keanu Neal, Demontae Kazee Allen is the brain of the defense and was vital to saving our secondary last season. Keanu would be great as a Strong Safety if his ACL didn’t fucking hate him. Furthermore, this is a contract year for him, so one would hope that he’ll try his ass off to make up for 2 lost seasons. Last time Kazee was at Safety he led the NFL in interceptions, which was pretty cool. I expect that Kazee will play corner roles (he played corner last year) occasionally in order to help out the younglings at CB. P: Ryan Allen I expect Allen’s experience to help him win out the job, but it could easily go the other way. K: Younghoe Koo Koo was pretty good as a place kicker when he came in last season, and his onside kicks are the stuff of legend . Unrelated, but at 2:37 in that video look at the top right of the screen and you’ll see my favorite thing from last season. KR: Brandon Powell He returned kicks a few times for the lions. Long Snapper: Josh HarrisHe’ll steal your girl if you aren’t careful.
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