Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 9:35 AM
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON—
THE NBA DRAFT NOW IS JUST A WEEK AWAY…
BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES:
IT’S Q&A TIME FOR THE GIANTS AND THE PHILLIES…
OUR NFL TIDBITS SEGMENT:
THIS TIME WE CHECK OUT THE DENVER BRONCOS’ 2014 SKED
Here’s a fact regarding the NBA Draft which is set for one week from tonight— that’s Thurs., Jun. 26— and that is youth will be served.
Hey, we checked out a listing of the top prospects for this year’s hoops draft and— surprise, surprise— six of the top seven-rated players eligible for the draft were college freshmen last year and the other top-seven dude hails from Australia (we’ll get to him shortly).
Still, with the clock tick, tick, ticking down to the NBA Draft at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, there remains major intrigue as to whom will be going #1-2-3 to Cleveland, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, respectively— and there’s still major intrigue as to whether or not any of these above-mentioned teams will deal out of their high-profile draft positions.
Now, let’s zip ‘round the league and give you some NBA Draft Night possibilities when it comes to players/teams:
- It’s no lead-pipe cinch just yet but— as we suggested back on the night of the NBA Lottery drawing in May— it appears the Cleveland Cavaliers will snag seven-foot Kansas C Joel Embiid with the top pick in this draft. Embiid does have a balky back and that troubles the Cavs’ management folks who are making the first selection in this draft for a third time in four seasons but his “up-side” is too much to pass by here and he figures to be the first player announced to the crowd by first-year Commissioner Adam Silver.
- In the #2 and #3 draft slots, we expect the Bucks and 76ers to hang onto their respective picks and go with Duke’s Jabari Parker and Kansas G/F Andrew Wiggins in that order (even though the consensus belief is that Wiggins will go second, Parker third).
- If there is anyone out there that could trade up with either of these two teams, we think it’s the Phoenix Suns but they would have to include G Goran Dragic in the deal and that’s not likely to happen.
- A dark horse team to trade into the top three picks is New Orleans as the Pelicans go nine or 10-deep, but N’Orleans won’t strip down its roster just to get a Parker or Wiggins, so we’ll consider the Pels a possibility here but far from a sure thing to deal.
- In terms of NBA teams, note the Orlando Magic own two of the top 12 picks in this draft (that’s #4 and #12) and there are signs that the Magic will tab Australian combo guard Dante Exum with that fourth overall pick, and also Orlando’s said to be eyeballing the likes of Michigan State’s Adreian Payne or Sparty teammate Gary Harris with the #12 choice, but could Orlando swing a multi-player, multi-pick deal with Minnesota for F Kevin Love? The Magic has enough young pieces now that could serve as a neat supporting cast for Love— let’s see if these teams can play a little game of “let’s make a deal” on or prior to Draft Night.
- Finally, where exactly is Creighton’s All-America star Doug McDermott gonna wind up? There are some mock drafts that have one of college basketball’s all-time leading scorers falling all the way to the 15th pick with the Atlanta Hawks, but in this day-and-age where more teams are firing up a record number of three-point attempts, we believe McDermott’s stock actually will rise in these immediate days prior to the draft— how does #9 to Charlotte sound to you?
And now hear this…
Okay, so the NBA Finals— and the whole 2013-14 NBA season, for that matter— is officially in the books but that doesn’t mean Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will stop the winning!
There’s plenty of Major-League Baseball daily winners coming your way when you check in either right here online at www.vegassportsmasters.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-888-777-4155 any time after 1 p.m. Eastern time for weeknight action, after 11 a.m. ET for weekday games and after 10 a.m. ET for Saturday/Sunday/Holiday Winners.
Plus, the Football Season isn’t that far off as NFL Preseason action swings into gear in early August— can’t wait!
BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES
Okay, so let’s get our Jim Sez Q&A session started already:
Q: Are the San Francisco Giants ready to push the panic button with three-time All-Star Matt Cain?
A: The Giants say “no”, but the fact of the matter is Cain has started 11 games this year and has only one win— his 1-5 mark and bloated 4.52 ERA is one reason why the Giants (43-29) have not officially run away and hid in the National League West, and now that San Fran’s lost five in a row while heading into this weekend’s series in Arizona, there’s major concern that this slide Cain’s on may continue. Note that the veteran righthander has surrendered a team-high 11 home runs this year and he’s already walked 24 batters in 63.2 innings, but manager Bruce Bochy isn’t tipping his hand as to whether or not Cain will be removed from the team’s regular rotation or if he’ll miss a turn while trying to get straightened away.
Just keep in mind the Giants’ once invulnerable pitching staff has allowed 35 runs in this current losing skein— that’s three home losses to Colorado and a two-game sweep at the hands of the host Chicago White Sox— and so right now it’s not Cain alone who is damaging the Giants on the mound.
Q: Should the Philadelphia Phillies (32-38) be “fooled” by this recent run that includes a three-game sweep in Atlanta and seven wins in the team’s last 10 games?
A: Call us a little crazy, but we believe the Phillies can make some noise in the jumbled NL East… not sure if veteran LHP Cliff Lee is gonna be “himself” when it finally comes off the DL but consider Ryne Sandberg’s crew has played relatively well on the road (16-17) and gotta believe there’s plenty of home runs in the bats of 1B Ryan Howard, 2B Chase Utley and LF Domonic Brown. It’s hard to believe that right now the Phils— just 4.5 games back of the top spot in the NL East— rank 10th in the senior circuit in homers (58) and odds are that’ll improve as the weather heats up and then the really big question is can Philadelphia’s rotation including the likes of A.J. Burnett (4-6, 4.17), Kyle Kendrick (3-6, 3.97) and Roberto Hernandez (2-5, 4.26 ERA) join a red-hot LHP Cole Hamels (2-3, 2.78 ERA) in holding down the fort till Lee gets back. Something tells us Philadelphia will be on the plus side of the .500 mark come the All-Star Game and then things really could get interesting.
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Yesterday’s Jim Sez examined the 2014 schedule of the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks— so now it’s time to look at the defending AFC champion Denver Broncos and see what awaits them on their 2014 sked:
The 2013 Broncos won 13 games, secured the #1 seed in the AFC and scored a whopping 606 points and no doubt a quick start was helped by the fact that John Fox’s club only went on the road three times in the season’s first nine weeks (five home games and a bye).
Take a gander at this upcoming schedule and you’ll see Denver’s only on the road twice in the first eight weeks— that’s at Seattle in Week 3 and at the New York Jets in Week 6 with the bye positioned in Week 4.
But here’s the major difference between last year’s schedule and this year’s: The Broncos must play back-to-back-to-back road games beginning with a November 2nd date at New England, followed by a Nov. 9th game in Oakland and then there’s a Nov. 16th tilt in St. Louis.
Note the Broncos also play two of their three AFC West divisional road games in the final five weeks of the season— at Kansas City in Week 13 and at San Diego in Week 15— and so once the calendar turns to read November life gets a wee bit tougher for the ’14 version of the “Orange Crush”.
Overall, Denver plays the rough-and-tumble NFC West this year— last season the Broncos absolutely slaughtered the NFC West four games-to-none and outscored the NFC East guys 189-to-112 (that’s a per-game average of 47-to-28)— and let’s not forget Peyton Manning and Company must play conference road games at the Jets and at the Patriots and that marks two of the team’s three games this year that will be played in the Eastern time zone.
Still think this Broncos bunch is gonna go 13-and-3?
Our response to that is… think again!
NOTE: Remember the NBA Draft is set for next Thursday, June 26th and we’ll have previews/coverages all through the next several days plus there’s more Baseball News/Notes comin’ soon in these Jim Sez columns.