Atlanta Hawks Playoff Run

By Avner Belsky

ATLANTA — Everyone loves a good underdog story. They love seeing the unexpected suddenly happen right before their eyes. You are witnessing not only Atlanta history, but NBA history. The Atlanta Hawks, who just a year ago couldn’t even imagine making the playoffs, have made a strong postseason push that has landed them a coveted spot in the Eastern Conference finals.   

The Atlanta Hawks finished the regular season 41-31, which was good enough to guarantee them a spot in the playoffs as the 5th seed. Going into their first playoff series since 2015 they were already the underdogs and faced the fourth-seeded New York Knicks in the first round of the playoffs.

The Hawks had no problem moving past New York, pulling off a 4-1 “Gentleman’s sweep.”  

In the next round, the Hawks faced Joel Emiid’s 76ers. Going into that series it was looking like the Hawks playoff “luck” had just about run out.

Hawks star Trae Young had something else to say about that.

Throughout that series, he averaged 29 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 10.9 assists.

More importantly, Young’s play led the Hawks to a series victory over Philadelphia and on to the Eastern Conference finals. 

“Trae’s scoring ability has put him in the national spotlight considering the platform of his achievements beating the New York Knicks in a hostile environment and the improbable upset of Philadelphia,” said Ronald Agers who covers the Hawks for ESPN’s TrueHoop Network along with being a SLAM magazine contributing writer.  

Agers added, “The leadership and overall play of Ice Trae leads directly to interim head coach Nate McMillan. Ever since he took over for the (fired) Lloyd Pierce, he attached accountability to Young that might not have been there his first couple of years. Trae looked like the second hand version of Stephen Curry shooting numerous 30 foot shots a game.”

Even with Young’s individual success, the Hawks have shown to be more than just a one-man show.   

Without Young in the lineup, the Hawks have still proven to be a formidable opponent. Young suffered a right ankle injury in Game 3 which kept him out of the lineup for Game 4. Atlanta responded with a series-tying victory despite not having their best player available. 

“The Hawks have been underdogs in both series so far and now are big underdogs (against) Milwaukee,” said Hawks co-owner Jesse Itzler. “That hasn’t bothered anyone so far and in fact, I think fires this team up. We have a lot to prove. I hope this team serves as an inspiration to underdogs all over the world.”

The city of Atlanta was demanding a change and better results.

That is exactly what happened, after the firing of Pierce. They promoted Hawks assistant Nate McMillan, a veteran NBA head coach, to interim head coach. Since becoming the Hawks’ interim head coach, Atlanta has a 27-11 record which ranks among the league’s best during that span.  

“(McMillan) has done a great job of letting players play and letting his leaders lead,” said Curtis Washington who played at Georgia State and now plays overseas. “He gives them the game plan and then lets them play their game without over coaching.”  

There is a lot to be said about that coaching style. The NBA has tons of coaches across the league trying to over coach and make up complicated game plans and plays. McMillan has found that perfect balance between structure and letting his players do what they do best and what they are paid to do – Win.

And they do this as a team which has become one of their strengths and a key to their unexpected success. 

“One thing you see in the Atlanta Hawks is the power of teamwork,” Itzler said. “This is a team that is unselfish and supportive of each other. When everyone is playing together rather than individually … amazing things can happen. Trae is a great example of that. It’s amazing what a team playing together can accomplish. You can never underestimate soul and heart. We play with both.”

(Also published in Boston University’s paper “The Terrier”)

Inspired by Stockx: What are the most in demand sneakers and why?

Hello, and welcome back to another article on Fantasyprospects! Today we are going to be covering a whole new aspect of sports. Shoes! The article below was inspired by a recent interview with Josh Luber, Co-Founder, and former CEO of Stockx, that I conducted on my podcast called Avner’s Sports Throw Down! The link to the interview is here:

For many years now NBA, NFL, and MLB players have loved to wear the most trendy and fashionable accessories whether it comes to shoes, suits, watches, cars, and more. Today we are going to be covering the top three most expensive shoes associated with each major NBA star. (We will be covering modern-day versions of the shoes)

While I could have used several different sources to collect the data I am using Stockx!

We are first going to start with an obvious one and a shoe brand that is worldwide known. The Jordan shoe brand.


1) Jordan 1 Retro High Shinedown Attention $40,000 – 50,000

2) Jordan 4 Retro Eminem Encore $34,000 – 42,000

3) Jordan 4 Retro Travis Scott (Friends and Family Edition) $30,000 – 37,000

My, second shoe brand that I am going to introduce is the Kobe shoe brand!


1) Jordan Kobe PE Pack 3/8 $50,000 – $80,000

2) Nike Kobe 1 Protro Undefeated Purple (F&F) $20,000 – $28,000

3) Nike Kobe 4 Protro Undefeated Olive $18,000 – $24,500

My, third choice is the elite Lebron shoe brand!


1) Nike LeBron 4 Fruity Pebbles $ 6,000 – 10,000

2) Nike LeBron X What the MVP $3,000 – $6,000

3) Nike LeBron 15 Lifestyle KITH King’s Crown $2,000 – $4,500

Now, that you have seen all of these shoes and their prices you are probably wondering what makes shoes so expensive, popular, and sought after?

Since you asked I will tell you. Shoes are so sought after because the most famous fashion designers and companies produce it and they pay millions of dollars every year to advertise them. They are so expensive because companies and fashion designers only make a limited amount of them, so therefore the price goes up because there are less in circulation. They are very popular because very huge and popular public figures wear them and when they wear something and promote it themselves it instantly becomes very popular. The whole cycle will repeat itself until the next trend comes around.

Thank you so much for reading this article! I hope you enjoyed it! If you did, you certainly will like the podcast interview I just did with Josh Luber who is the former CEO and Co-Founder of Stockx! Go onto Spotify and type in Avner’s Sports Throw Down and it will be the interview right on top. I will attach the link to my podcast and my podcast website. You can also go and follow my Instagram account at thesportsthrowdown! I hope you enjoyed it. Until next time!

Spotify Podcast Link:

Podcast Website:


Interview with Soccer in the Streets Executive Director Mr. Phil Hill!

I recently did an interview with the Executive Director of Soccer in the Streets. Soccer in the Streets is a non-profit organization that provides better access to quality soccer programs and making youth ready for employment when the time comes. They just out my interview on there press coverage section of their website, and I thought I would share it with you! Hope you Enjoy!

Interview with Mr. Phil Hill

Top 3 Teams That Have the Highest Odds of Winning the Super Bowl

As you know that this COVID 19 pandemic has denied us the sports we love and live for, but that does not mean we can’t still have fun with “Off-season stuff”

Today I will select the top 3 teams out of the NFL that in my professional opinion will have the highest odds making it deep in the playoffs and potentially being the next Super Bowl champions. 

My number one is the Kansas City Chiefs. A lot of you probably saw this one coming, but think about it, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t put last years Super Bowl champions down and with the amount of youth and talent that they have I definitely would not be surprised if they won back to back Super Bowl titles. They have Patrick Mahomes who in my book currently is the best Quarter Back in the NFL right now, they have the “Speed Demon” Tyreek Hill who literally not even Usain Bolt could keep up with, they have their big man Tight End Travis Kelce who is basically a foot taller than any defensive player who tries to guard him, and they have Damien Williams who is Kareem Hunt, a lot of people are taking for granted his greatness. This is a pretty packed team, so watch out NFL these Chiefs are ready to rumble.

The second team on this list is the Baltimore Ravens. You all probably know Lamar Jackson had one of the most magical seasons in NFL history. Ravens fans were disappointed when they were defeated very early in the 2019 playoffs. Their Captain, their savior, and literally their only hope Lamar Jackson was inexperienced and young. This year I think he is going to have what it takes to go deep in the playoffs and have a chance at that Lombardi Trophy. Let me introduce or reintroduce their star players to you. First, on the list, you all have to know, Lamar Jackson who is their starting Quarter Back. He is the definition of fast, quick, and in a hurry. Lamar is one of the most successful and driven mobile Quarter Backs in the NFL! Second, we have their star Wide Receiver, some call him “Hollywood Brown”, please welcome Marquise Brown. Third, we have the older but still shifty Mark Ingram III. I would not be surprised by this team’s ability to find the red zone and their quick way of making acumen decisions.

The third and final team on this list, are the New Orlean Saints. This is a very sustainable and well-known team, and they are known for getting the job done and winning. They have an incredibly young and talented team, with the exception of Drew Brees, but his raw talent makes up for his age. The Saints are known for getting mid or deep into the playoffs, but not usually winning the whole thing. I think that all might just change this year. Let me show you their star players and why I believe they are Super Bowl material. First, let me introduce you to the all mighty accurate throw making and clutch Quarter Back Drew Brees. he as you know is getting older, but just like Tom Brady, it does not seem to be affecting him as much. Hey, he should take what he should get, but seriously he is one of the most talented players in the NFL all jokes aside. Second, let me introduce you to the ankle breaker himself Alvin Kamara, who is the starting Running Back for the Saints. Third, let me introduce you to Mr. “Throw anything within 15 yards of him and he catches it”, Michael Thomas who is the starting and primary Wide Receiver target. I have to say after looking at their depth chart I realized this team is very special for a couple of reasons. 

First, all of their starters are incredibly talented. Second, their backups are basically just as good. For example, Jamies Winston is their back up Quarter Back, Latavius Murray is their back up Running Back, and Taysom Hill is their back up Wide Receiver and back up back up Quarterback. Third, they have a player who can play three positions Taysom Hill. He can play Tight End, Wide Receiver, and Quarterback. Now that’s rare! This team is really special and filled with talent and so much potential. This team might just win it all.

Thank you so much for reading this article! if you enjoyed leaving a comment below, Press the follow button below, and press that like button below, please. I hope you enjoyed it.

Look out for my upcoming Podcasts?

Look out for my upcoming podcast! Here are the release dates…

Wednesday June 17th – Interview with special guest (Will be posted anywhere between 1pm and 4pm)

Thursday June 18th – Interview with special guest (Will be posted anywhere between 11am and 2pm)

Friday June 19th – Interview with special guest (Will be posted anywhere between 11am and 3pm)

Monday June 22nd – Interview with special guest (Will be posted anywhere between 1pm and 4pm)

Trust me these are all very high profiled and interesting guest, so you don’t want to miss out on what these experts have to offer! Make sure you check click on this link to listen to all of these special guest on these dates!

What is the MLB’s plan to open back up?

If you want to listen to my podcast it’s called Avner’s Sports Throw Down. It’s available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts. If you would like to listen to it on click the play button above. If you like it you can hit the three buttons symbol to the left of the play button, and there should be a follow on Spotify option. If you would click that and follow me, it would be a huge help! If you like the podcast, every time I make it new on it will be available on and the websites I listed above. Thank you so much and enjoy!

I have a Podcast Now!

Hey all,

I hope you are all doing well and staying safe. I just wanted to inform you that I now have a sports Podcast, called Avner’s sports throw down. You can find it on Spotify and Anchor the Podcast maker. It soon will also be in Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and others. Thank you so much. Please check out my Podcast on Spotify or Anchor under Avner’s sports throw down! Please press follow when you here my Podcast!

Fantasy Prospects wants you to stay safe!

Do the players of the MLB play baseball for the cash, or for the love of the game?

As you probably know Coronavirus has made the MLB postpone its 2020 season until further notice. We have seen a glimpse of hope from commissioner Rob Manfred in resuming the 2020 MLB season. In order to bring back the great game of baseball on very small change was going to have to be made… Pay cut’s for players.

A number of different players have come out and said, “it is unacceptable to have pay cuts, are professionally trained athletes.” Says Blake Snell and Bryce Harper. I mean think about that for a second. I can feel for both sides, but come on if you love the game you will maybe suffer from a loss in a few thousand dollars. Just deal with it.

I am starting to think that a number of MLB players don’t play the sport for the love of it, I’m starting to think that they are just in it for the cash. These MLB players have to reach and look outside of baseball. After 9/11 took place, America was devastated. You want to know what one of the key factors was in bringing America’s hope up, Baseball! That’s what we need during this time of grief and in this deadly Pandemic.

If you are greedy and selfish Bryce Harper and Blake Snell who are in it for the cash and nobody else. Ignore them. Let baseball take place once again, as soon as it is safe.

Will Tom Brady Walk Away from the Patriots?

Tom Brady was drafted as the New England Patriots 199th pick in the 6th round in 2000. Everyone thought he was too skinny and week to play football. Sure enough, Tom Brady proved them wrong, he proved everyone wrong. Tom Brady is the best quarterback in NFL history and there is no arguing over it. Tom Brady has been a lifetime Patriot, he has been playing for them for 20 years as of this year. Personally, I think Tom Brady should stay with the Patriots. To be honest he only has 2-3 years maximum left in him. I think he owes it to the city, to the fans, and to the organization to be a lifetime, Patriot. it would be really cool of him to start as a Patriot and follow him through all of his Superbowl wins and his Superbowl losses and finally to retire as Patriot.

Now, this is the first time in Tom Brady’s career where he has been a free agent, and this is big for him. It’s something completely new for Tom Brady and to be honest, I think he likes all of the attention he is getting from the media and from other NFL teams that are offering potential contracts. The Patriots have offered him a great deal of money, but I think Tom Brady is looking for a couple of things. First, he wants a big-money contract so that he has a big paycheck that he will be looking forward to at the end of a couple of seasons. Second, I think he wants to customize how many years he wants to play on the Patriots, not how many the Patriots organization wants or the fans just Tom Brady. Third, Tom Brady I think is looking for some equity in the Patriots. I think this is a key factor. If they make Tom Brady even an 8% owner of the Patriots it would be good for Tom Brady because he is a part-owner of the organization, but it is also a great marketing opportunity for the Patriots. The Patriots can have promotional nights staring Tom Brady, they can say the greatest player of all time is an owner of the Patriots, and there are so many other great marketing opportunities for the Patriots also.

In conclusion, I think Tom Brady will stay if the Patriots strike an appropriate deal that accommodates Tom Brady’s needs. I think if the Patriots offer Tom Brady a $72 million deal, with preferably two years but obviously like I said earlier he can customize the contract, and finally offer Tom Brady 8% equity/stake in the New England Patriots. If all of this is done there is a good chance he will stay.

Did the Astros get a Big enough Punishment?

It was confirmed on January 13th, 2020 that the Houston Astro’s have been stealing MLB teams stealing signs since 2017. That has been three years, that is way too long! One of the most common sounds that you would hear at a Houston Astros game would be a banging on a metal trash can. Nobody at knew what that meant besides the Houston Astros organization. The banging on the trash indicated that the opposing team was going to steal. The Astros would also use cameras to figure out what kind of pitch the opposing team was going to throw so the batter would know and it would increase his chances of a hit or getting contact. This is by far one of the worst cases of cheating in MLB history.

In my opinion, the MLB organization did not take this matter seriously enough. They fined the Astros $5 million dollar fine and where completely stript of four high draft picks. This might sound like a big loss, but if you compare it to the 1919 Black Sox scandal this Houston Astro’s punishment is nearly nothing. In 1919 multiple of the players on the Black Sox threw the world series for an outside bet for millions of dollars. The 1919 Black Sox were completely banned the following year from playing Major League Baseball. On top of that 8 of the Black Sox’s best players were thrown out of baseball for good. Such as Chick Gandil, Eddie Cicotte, Happy Felsch, Lefty Williams, Fred McMullin, Swede Risberg, Buck Weaver, Shoeless Joe Jackson. One of those players I do believe did not commit or take any part of this crime. His name is Shoeless Joe Jackson.

Back to the Astros. Now you can see how different the punishments where. You can also see how much more serious the Astros scenario with stealing other teams signs. In my opinion, I think they should have been fined $10 million, been stripped of their best 5-6 draft picks, strip the Astros of their world series title, and suspend the whole team for one MLB season. I would hope that the Astros would get the message that cheating is not tolerated in the MLB.