Many balls in the air as the draft approaches
Well, it was certainly nice to catch up with Bryan and chat about the draft a little bit but after an hour or so of sitting around and asking questions and telling stories and mining for information, this much is clear:
Not much is clear.
Oh, there’s a guess and a narrowing of the field that’s gone on and that’s just natural but there are lots of balls still in the air with just over a week left until draft day.
If I had to guess from various conversations with people around the league and other work that I’ve done, I’d say Lillard, Rivers, Waiters and Lamb are the four favourites right now but I don’t know that there’s a definitive order and a lot of it will depend on who’s there on draft night.
I do get the sense from those conversations that a trade is a very real possibility as long as it yields another pick, not necessarily in the lottery but definitely in the first round. They want another young piece but would live with getting one later in the first if they could get some immediate help.
But, again, there’s an awful lot of time left between now and the draft for things to change and Thursday’s workouts – Sullinger, Perry Jones, Terrence Jones, perhaps John Henson and maybe Lamb if they can get him back in – is significant because a few of those guys are in the 13-18 range, perhaps, and would be someone taken with a later pick acquired in a trade.
It’s going to be an interesting week, I have a feeling; and some of the stuff you read might actually happen. Not much, but some.
Oh yeah, The People and I are gonna be fast friends; or at least with a few of ‘em.
We will be back at 9 p.m. for an IGBT if we can all stay awake that late but there’s also a noon chat if you’d care to join.
It’s loads of fun, am sure there’ll be draft stuff and Finals stuff and who knows what else.
Come on by.
Let me get this straight:
A trio of 20-something pro athletes take a night off, get hammered in the club, end up in a street brawl with cops and get themselves arrested?
Colour me shocked.
I tell ya, if you can find a hidden local with solid burgers, good pizza, passable wings, friendly staff and a jukebox with this on it that stays open ‘til 3 a.m. after games, steps from your hotel, you’ve found a gem.
Better than South Beach, I tell ya.
Who is R.A. Dickey and why does he seemingly throw nothing but one-hitters.
This Mets dude, with an 85-mile an hour knuckleball, is becoming the greatest story of the baseball season and I’m not sure enough people appreciate what he’s doing.
I don’t know much about knuckleballs except that I couldn’t hit one and they seem to be the last gasp of failed minor leaguers who retire to, say, South Buffalo to live out their dotage, but for Dickey to throw one that hard and that well is amazing.
Every season we see one amazing baseball story, I thought early this season it’d be Josh Hamilton but now it’s Dickey, who is 11-1 and hasn’t given up an earned run in about forever.
Great story, better start following it.
Not an awful lot except that it’s a big week for Valanciunas, whose national team is deep in preparations for the final Olympic qualification tournament that starts early next month own in Venezuela.
He and the Lithuanians will be in Houston this weekend for a couple of games – Great Britain, Russia and Nigeria will be there as well – and you know that Bryan, the Henchmen and the coach will be in attendance.
There is an off chance Valanciunas still plays in the summer league, too. If Lithuania doesn’t make it to the Olympics – which is a longshot – the Raptors will try to get him from Venezuela to Vegas to start his NBA career.
Speaking of Valanciunas and getting back to our chat with Bryan, the impending arrival of the young big man has actually made this process this year a bit easier, according the president.
Really? Second overall?
“It’s been told to me by countless people so at some point you start believing it, it’s not just an internal thought. It’s an external thought as well. We feel very good about that.”
As well they should.
And it’s allowed them, to some degree, to avoid wasting an awful lot of time on available bigs.
“It kind of talks to the argument of do you take best player or position, we kind of figured that that position is somewhat covered so maybe the (Tyler) Zellers and Myers Leonards of the world have not really been in the flow with our draft process. We’ve studied them, we’ve scouted them but we haven’t put a lot effort into the process of digging deep right now because of the Valanciunas piece.”
Riddle me this:
How utterly bored are you by Roger Clemens and that lengthy trial that ended in acquittal yesterday?
If you’re me, you’re bored to absolute tears and when the news broke breathlessly that he was not guilty, it elicited nothing more than a yawn.
Look, it doesn’t matter to the casual sports fan whether the courts found Clemens guilty of lying to the US Congress or not, if you think he used steroids before, you’re not going to change you’re mind; if you’ve been a supporter, this is vindication.
Personally? I think he did take some kind of juice, whether a gaggle of high-priced lawyers muddied the waters enough to get him an acquittal or not. That’s my opinion after seeing some testimony in the past and more recently and it’s not going to change.
I suspect that’s a predominant feeling around the sports world.
Oh, hang, on, I misremembered that I don’t care.
So, before the little chat with Bryan we had a wee bit of face time with the Commissioner after the competition committee meeting and it was pretty entertaining.
While nothing has been decided, the one thing that jumped out is that there is some kind of consideration being given to some kind of retroactive penalties being assessed to floppers.
We know it’s a difficult call for refs to make in real time – there is a split second to make a decision and often no one notices until the TV replays show it – so the committee (of which Bryan is a member) figures having something like a points system where video is used either post-game or the next morning to hit the floppers is a good idea to pursue.
That makes entire sense to me, it’s a way to accrue fines or points that might eventually lead to suspensions, like they do with technical fouls now, and might at least cut down on one of the scourges of the game.