My Thoghts on Aaron Hernandez Verdict, & Why Brad Stevens Should Be the 2015 NBA Coach of the Year

Movie Quote of the Day:

“Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?
– Will Hunting, Good Will Hunting (1997)

In case you live under a rock, the biggest news in sports yesterday was the Aaron Hernandez trial verdict. Yesterday, the former University of Florida and New England Patriots tight end was convicted of first-degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd, and was also found guilty of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. Hernandez was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

AaronHernandez

To be honest, I didn’t really follow the trial so I didn’t know the facts of the case. I showed up to work yesterday morning, plugged in my phone and turned on ESPN radio, and heard that there was a decision in the case. One of my co-workers proceeded to give me the 411 on the trial, saying that he believed that Hernandez was going to get off on the murder charge. After researching the facts of the case, I’ll be honest that I’m a little shocked that this was the verdict. After researching, the two biggest facts that I found were this: the murder weapon was never found and there was no evidence that put Hernandez at the murder scene.

To me, those are two pretty big factors when I’m trying to come to a decision on a murder case. That being said, I still don’t know all of the facts of the case; there may have been something bigger that swayed the jury against Hernandez. I just saw those facts and I thought it was an interesting note.

The biggest thing that I think hurt Hernandez was the fact his own lawyer admitted that Hernandez witnessed the murder, even though there was no evidence from the prosecution that proved he was actually there. Which begs the question, what kind of lawyer is this guy? That’s just a poor job of defending your client. You put the thought into the jury’s head that Hernandez was at the murder scene. With that being said, the jury had no reason to think Hernandez wasn’t the murderer. That would probably convince me if I were the jury, and that’s probably what finished Hernandez.

Even though Hernandez is now sentenced to life in prison, he still faces two more murder charges in the deaths of Daniel Abreu and Safiro Furtardo in 2012. The prosecution stated that they would not drop the charges on Hernandez after the decision came on Lloyd’s murder. Hernandez still has a long road ahead.

That being said, I’d like to point out that almost three years prior to this, Hernandez was playing in Super Bowl XLVI against the New York Giants. Also, it will be three years come August when the Patriots signed Hernandez to a 5-year, $40 million contract extension that included a $12.5 million signing bonus. At the time, that was the largest contract ever given to a tight end.

Which brings me to my next point that I will never understand the thought process of some of these athletes. They sit on a lottery ticket because of their athleticism and some of them are willing to throw it away. Even if Hernandez is innocent, he brought this on himself for putting himself in this situation. Did it ever occur to him the fact that he’s about to throw away his job of playing in the NFL and his recent $40 million contract? Not only that, but he also threw away his life as a free man all because he had beef with a few people. It doesn’t make any sense to me. It doesn’t matter where you stand on the trial, whether he was innocent or not, we can all agree on this…

YouDoneMessedUpAaron

In other news, my Boston Celtics won again last night in their final regular season game, improving their record to 40-42. They locked up the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference for the NBA Playoffs on Tuesday night.

This is a team, who just two years ago, decided to trade away their assets and reload on draft picks, trading away future NBA Hall of Fame players like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Then they traded away head coach Doc Rivers, who had led Boston to two NBA Finals appearances, bringing home a championship in 2008.

However, the trades didn’t stop there. This past December, Boston traded away all-star Rajon Rondo. Then again in January, Boston traded away Jeff Green, who was the team’s leading scorer before being traded. Boston received even more draft picks in both trades.

With Rondo and Green gone, the leading scorers this season have been Isaiah Thomas (19.0 PPG), Avery Bradley (13.9 PPG), Jared Sullinger (13.3 PPG), Brandon Bass (10.6 PPG), and Tyler Zeller (10.2 PPG).

Most of you have probably never heard of those players.

In my opinion, that speaks volumes of the coaching job that second year head coach Brad Stevens (who was hired in the summer of 2013 after the departure of Rivers) has done with this Boston team. That’s right, the former head coach at Butler University, who led them to back to back national title games in 2010 and 2011, is now finding success in the NBA.

Brad Stevens 3

This team had a 9-14 record prior to the Rondo trade, and a 12-23 record before they traded Green. Most people, including myself, believed the season to be over. I know I was looking forward to the team possibly tanking the season in order to get a higher draft pick.

Not on Stevens’ watch.

Boston has been one of the hottest teams in the league since trading away Green in January, posting a record of 28-19. Again, this is a team with zero star players. Although, acquiring Isaiah Thomas at the trade deadline has definitely helped. I firmly believe that Brad Stevens deserves the 2015 NBA Coach of the Year award.

I know that Golden State head coach Steve Kerr probably has the better argument. In his first season as head coach, he’s taken a team with good talent and made them elite by earning the top seed in the much stronger Western Conference. I’m not going to argue that his name shouldn’t be up for consideration, but I still think the award should go to Stevens.

Stevens doesn’t have any players near the caliber compared to Golden State. Golden State has players like Stephen Curry (who deserves the 2015 NBA MVP award), Klay Thompson, and Andre Iguodala. All three of those players have made appearances to the NBA All-Star Game. Whereas, Boston only has one player who has made an appearance to the NBA All-Star Game (Gerald Wallace, 2010). I don’t think you can go wrong with either coach though. They’re both deserving of the award.

Thanks for reading

Shane Price
Follow me on Twitter – @priceisright53

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