Sports With Ashley – Laureen Irat DEBUT EPISODE 06-05-19

Here it is folks!

It’s N The Zone Network’s newest show, the “Sports With Ashley” podcast w/ Ashley Wright. On this podcast, she will deliver groundbreaking interviews with media industry professionals and debate the hottest topics in sports and entertainment.

Here in the debut episode, Ashley has a two-parter with Laureen Irat, the founder of “Beyond The W,” which touches on everything WNBA and women’s hoops. In part 1, Irat talks about how she started Beyond The W, what inspired her to the media and her collaboration with Minorities In Sports co-founder Shaina Wiel.

Sports With Ashley – Laureen Irat (Part 1) DEBUT EPISODE 06-03-19

In Part 2 of this debut episode of the “Sports With Ashley” podcast, Ashley continues the conversation with Laureen Irat talking the new WNBA season. They touch on the Las Vegas Aces‘ newest acquisition, the impact of the Seattle Storm now that forward Breanna Stewart had a season-ending injury; along with the Lexie Brown challenge.

Sports With Ashley – Laureen Irat (Part 2) DEBUT EPISODE 06-03-19

Elite NFL Quaterbacks

Eli Manning, Tom Brady, and Ben Roethlisberger

Ashley Wright 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sportswithashley/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SportWithAshley

The quarterback position is one of the most challenging and vital positions in the NFL. It may also be one of the most analyzed positions. Arguably, the greatest debate that surrounds the quarterback is what makes them elite. Household names such as Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers have almost become immune to the debate however other quarterbacks such as Eli Manning and Joe Flacco have been questioned about their elite status.

When Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz suffered an ACL tear in a Week 13 win against the Los Angeles Rams many people thought their Super Bowl LII hopes were out of reach, some even thought they would lose the game. Nevertheless, Nick Foles stepped in and shocked majority of NFL fans. Not only did he win the game in Los Angeles but he has led the Eagles to Minneapolis where they will face Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

In Minnesota Case Keenum took the place of Sam Bradford who suffered a knee injury in Week 1. Keenum may have had the most shocking success in the NFL this season. He led the Vikings to a 13-3 record, and the NFC championship game. The story here is without Nick Foles stepping into Carson Wentz’s place, and without Case Keenum filling in for Sam Bradford the Eagles and Vikings probably would not have enjoyed so much success. Is it possible that their incredible seasons now make them elite quarterbacks? Many NFL fans think Carson Wentz deserves to be in NFL MVP talks but what has he accomplished other than winning a divisional championship?

In the case of the proven quarterback such as Eli Manning, what does it take to make him elite? He is top ten in multiple categories including fourth quarter comebacks, touchdown passes, and passes completed. Manning also has four Pro Bowl selections, two Super Bowl rings with MVP honors to match them both, and he beat conceivably the best quarterback ever in Tom Brady in both championship seasons as a wild card in the playoffs. Even with all of his accomplishments he is oftentimes snubbed on elite quarterback lists. Joe Flacco is also a proven quarterback who is underappreciated when it comes to elite quarterback talk.  Flacco is a Super Bowl winning quarterback and I can see the argument coming in saying, “well the Raven’s defense carried Flacco to the Super Bowl.” If you look at the numbers, it isn’t true at all. When the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2013, their defense ranked in the middle of the league. They were 17th in yards per game, 10th in yards per play, and 20th in rushing yards per game. The Ray Lewis retirement journey may have been a major highlight, but Flacco played his best football during that playoff stretch. He finished the playoffs with 11 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Joe Montana is the only other quarterback to do that. I am not saying Flacco is the best quarterback, but he was the main reason the Ravens got to and won the Super Bowl. Granted he has not played nearly as good since his Super Bowl win but he has been riddled by injury much of the time.

So what does it take for a quarterback to be considered elite? Super Bowl wins? Touchdown passes? Conference championships? Individual records? Whatever it is…many deserving quarterbacks get overlooked when it comes to the debate.

NBA Preseason Rankings

Ashley Wright

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SportWithAshley

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sportswithashley/

In recent years once the notable NBA free agents sign during the preseason NBA Playoff Power Rankings have been predictable but, this year that is not the case. This off season has arguably been the most entertaining off season yet. From free agent signings to trade demands more top free agents and talents have taken their services elsewhere. With teams gearing up for a championship run the NBA has been shifted like never before. There are many stars in new threads like Paul George in a Oklahoma City Thunder uniform and Gordon Hayward reuniting with his head coach from Butler University Brad Stevens! How did all these changes impact the potential NBA playoff picture? Check out NTheZone’s NBA preseason playoff Power Rankings below!

Western Conference

  1. Golden State Warriors (67-15)

The Golden State Warriors bring back their starting five and add to a bench that many think is also worthy of being a starting five itself. With the addition of Nick “Swaggy P” Young and re-signing of Andre Iguodala the Warriors have been thrusted into repeat talks. Just how much swag can Swaggy P provide?

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder (47-35)

Russell Westbrook. Paul George. Carmelo Anthony. Translation offense, offense, offense! With the signings of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to compliment reigning league MVP Russell Westbrook the Thunder should have no problem scoring with the heavyweights in the Western Conference. Center Steven Adams is also in the paint to provide a defensive upside. Let the Thunder roll!

  1. Houston Rockets (55-27)

Houston finished third in the West last season however that was before the signing of Chris Paul. Now that CP3 has been added to the mix the Rockets should have a better record however they are still in the same place due to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s offseason activity. Although Houston is still third they are ahead of the next team on the list that knocked them out of the playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs.

  1. San Antonio Spurs (61-21)

San Antonio has been quiet this offseason however they did sign veteran forward Rudy Gay. All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker has missed preseason action due to injuries. The Spurs defense should remain strong as they also return skilled veterans Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge.

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (31-51)

There is some roaring going on in Minnesota! With the acquisition of Jimmy Butler who is reuniting with head coach Tom Thibodeau, and that monster in the paint by the name of Karl-Anthony Towns anything short of the playoffs would be an absolute disappointment for the guys in Minnesota. Andrew Wiggins is also back after signing a 5-year $148 million contract extension. Jamal Crawford and Jeff Teague also add their offensive abilities.

  1. Los Angeles Clippers (51-31)

The Clippers should not decline as much as people might think even with the lost of Chris Paul to Houston. Los Angeles signed Serbian guard Milos Teodosic who has a similar style of play as Paul. They also have valuable replacements in Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams to sweeten the return of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.

  1. Denver Nuggets (40-42)

Denver just missed out on the playoffs last year, and with the addition of Paul Millsap, they expect to make it this year. This team has plenty of talent, much of it young in players such as Jamal Murray and Kenneth Faried. Denver’s success will depend on the continued growth of those young players.

  1. Utah Jazz (51-31)

Without Gordon Hayward, the Jazz are going to have a very tough time making a playoff push. That said, players like Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles and Rodney Hood will keep them from being a disaster. Also guard Ricky Rubio is going to have to perform well at the point guard spot.

Eastern Conference

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers (2016-17 record: 51-31)

Yes, it is true Cleveland lost one of the most dynamic point guards in the NBA in Kyrie Irving but what they received in return is not bad. Isaiah Thomas is projected to be sidelined until January with a hip injury however the Cavs have also signed Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade. Sure Derrick Rose is not what he used to be but he is averaging 11.7 points and 3.7 assists in the preseason. Also Dwyane Wade and LeBron James did win two championships in Miami. With all that being said I haven’t even mentioned other players in Jae Crowder, J.R. Smith, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson. Cleveland doesn’t look shabby!

  1. Boston Celtics (53-29)

This offseason Danny Ainge did what Danny Ainge does and shocked us all when he pulled off a trade that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston. The Celtics also acquired Gordon Hayward through free agency and drafted a gem this summer in forward Jayson Tatum. Although the Celtics have offensive firepower their defense seems to have taken a hit given they dealt away defensive studs in Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley.  However with Danny Ainge at the helm anything can happen especially during the trade deadline!

  1. Washington Wizards (49-33)

The Wizards largely have the same team that it had last year which is why they are in the same spot. The same team does not necessarily mean the same skill. John Wall and Bradley Beal are entering their fifth season together and they are complemented by players Otto Porter Jr. and Kelly Oubre.

  1. Toronto Raptors (51-31)

The Raptors lost contributors Patrick Patterson and DeMarre Carroll however they did re-sign Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka. Not to mention DeMar DeRozan is still in town. However last year they got a scare from the Milwaukee Bucks. Have the Raptors hit their ceiling?

  1. Milwaukee Bucks (42-40)

Many people are projecting forward Giannis Antetokounmpo to possibly when the MVP award nevertheless the young man can ball! Antetokounmpo paired with Jabari Parker who averaged 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game last season, that may be a recipe for a strong playoff push!

  1. Charlotte Hornets (36-46)

Charlotte missed the playoffs last season but they didn’t have center Dwight Howard or talented guard Malik Monk out of Kentucky. Howard may not play at the level that he once displayed but he did average a double-double last season with the Hawks translating in 13.5 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. The team is also bringing back Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, and Frank Kaminsky who all averaged over 11 points per game.

  1. Miami Heat (41-41)

The Heat re-signed James Johnson and Dion Waiters this offseason which means they have retained the bulk of the squad that went 30-11 during the second half of the season. Center Hassan Whiteside will also return to South Beach in hopes of building on his phenomenal play from last season.

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (28-54)

Young guys better ball! Philadelphia is finally healthy for now. Former lottery picks Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid missed significant time last season due to injuries, but they are healthy now and they are directed by the number one pick of the 2017 NBA draft Markelle Fultz. The Sixers have also added a veteran presence in J.J. Redick. Can the 76ers make a legitimate playoff case?

NBA Woes

Ashley Wright 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SportWithAshley

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sportswithashley/

The 2017 NBA off-season has been one to remember. Seemingly no other free agency period in the NBA as had more notable trades, signings, or trade demands than this one. The NBA’s recent off-season drama has been at the forefront of sports news, and feels like a scripted spin-off of Basketball Wives. Recent dysfunction around the NBA has many people comparing it to reality TV and tabloid headlines. In an evolving league a new era has begun in which stars such as Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson can play with each other. Many people refer to this era as the super team era.

With a new way of forming teams in the NBA there has been an abundance of player signings and trades that has captured the attention of NBA fans everywhere. From Chris Paul teaming up with James Harden, Paul George heading to Oklahoma City, and Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving demanding trades from their arguably dysfunctional front offices, it has been hard to miss any breaking news from the league.

Since LeBron James joined the Miami Heat in 2010 nearly every valuable talent in the NBA has tried to team up with another in hopes of winning a championship. Although there has been a lot of distractions the sole purpose is for teams to get better and players to have a better chance at hoisting a title. Despite the drama around the NBA this is undoubtedly the most anticipated season yet. Below is a list of teams graded on who conquered the crazy offseason best. Feel free to share your thoughts on any team in the NBA, and how you feel about their offseason!

Golden State Warriors: A+

The Warriors did what seemed to be the impossible this offseason and found ways to get better. They resigned core players Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant to multi-year deals while also managing to deepen their bench with the additions of scorer Nick Young and defensive rookie Jordan Bell from Oregon. Not to mention the Dubs still have Draymond Green, Shaun Livingston and Zaza Pachulia.

Boston Celtics: A

Danny Ainge strikes again! Recently the Celtics traded Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and a second round pick in the 2020 NBA draft in exchange for Kyrie Irving. Seems like they virtually got Irving for free right? Boston also signed forward Gordon Hayward in free agency adding to Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, and Jayson Tatum. Be on the lookout for the guys in green!

Houston Rockets: A-

MVP runner-up James Harden is still in town and joining him in the backcourt is Chris Paul. The Rockets are actively trying to add forward Carmelo Anthony to the mix. Plus Houston landed veteran forward P.J. Tucker.

Philadelphia 76ers: A-

Trust. The. Process. Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons, it is absolutely no secret that these young guys are the future of the franchise. Can Fultz lead them to a winning record and the playoffs?

Minnesota Timberwolves: B+

The Timberwolves are on the rise. Minnesota traded for Jimmy Butler and signed veteran guard Jeff Teague to a young upcoming lineup. Jamal Crawford and Taj Gibson are also key pieces for the T-Wolves bench with Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins rounding out the core. Does anyone foresee the playoffs?

Oklahoma City Thunder: B+

Now, you might be shocked to see “B+” as the grade for the Thunder’s offseason activity but, read the reasons why. Sure the Thunder acquired Paul George to team up with league MVP Russell Westbrook but answer the next question truthfully. Will they really be that much better? The post play for the Thunder is still weak to be a true contender in the Western Conference. Nevertheless their backcourt will be an offensive powerhouse!

Washington Wizards: C+

Wizards signed guard John Wall for the long haul with a four-year $170 million extension. Otto Porter also signed a four-year $106.5 million deal with Washington. Outside of those two signings the Wizards added Jodie Meeks and Tim Frazier.

Los Angeles Clippers: D-

Chris Paul is gone, must I go on? JJ Redick is gone. On the plus side Blake Griffin signed a five-year $173 million deal. Granted the Clippers added Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams but, that is not enough to do any damage in the talent filled Western Conference.

New York Knicks: F

Perhaps the Knicks may be the most dysfunctional team in the NBA. Sure Phil Jackson is finally out the door but owner James Dolan has seriously considered trading the only reliable talent they have in Kristaps Porzingis! The same James Dolan who thought signing Tim Hardaway Jr. to a four-year $71 million contract was a good idea.

Who is Ashley Wright?

Ashley Wright (@SportWithAshley)

My name is Ashley Wright and I am an 18 year old self-proclaimed sports fanatic! I am a freshman at the University of Missouri in Columbia hailing from St. Louis, Missouri and, I am majoring in Journalism with an emphasis in Sports. My passion for sports came at an early age. I have been around sports since I can remember. From watching the NBA on ESPN, TNT, and ABC to reciting the Sunday night football song by Carrie Underwood sports has been the one thing I can count on to bring me joy. I am at my happiest when I am engaged in sports. I love playing, watching, and talking about them. There is absolutely nothing about sports that I don’t enjoy. The most mesmerizing thing about sports is the lessons they can teach you, and the emotions they create. For example when watching the 2012 NBA Finals LeBron James won his first title and was showered in happiness while in the opposite locker room his opponent Kevin Durant was crying and dripped in sorrow. Little did Durant know five years later he would experience the same happiness James felt. When I am around sports that’s how I feel. I feel like I won the grandest championship of them all!

I have had the experience and opportunity of being the first female to commentate Ritenour High School football games via live-stream on YouTube. After that I took the liberty to establish my own sports page on Social Media to provide up-to-date sports highlights, breaking news and, rumors. With the help of my social media I was able to create an internship letter that included all of my work and, God blessed me with being able to call professional women’s basketball games for the St. Louis Surge alongside Palmer Alexander III and Arlington Lane of NTheZoneNetwork. Having the opportunity to sit in the press box and at the scorers table gave me all the confirmation I needed. I felt that I was following the path that God has planned for me. Everything comes so naturally and I am beyond blessed to have discovered my love and passion in this world full of amazing things! When I am commentating I can’t describe the feeling that comes over me. There’s often one part of commentating that I dread and that’s the game coming to an end. I never want to stop talking about the exciting and dramatic plays or events that occur in the world of sports. I love being able to interview players and get their perspectives of the game. My love for sports grows each day. I am constantly watching ESPN, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, and other sports news in hopes of perfecting my craft.

Through the blogs and Social Media accounts I will not only be sharing my thoughts on breaking news, rumors, and trades but also on controversial headlines that affect the sports world. I encourage everyone to share their thoughts whether you agree or disagree. My most recent blog post was about the Miami Dolphins signing Jay Cutler so you can start here! Feel free to express how you feel about every topic. My goal is to be the best sportscaster and sports commentator anybody has ever seen. Thank you to everyone who supports me in my endeavors! This is only the beginning.