Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, June 27, 2014 at 12:00 AM
THE NBA DRAFT RE-CAP:
WHAT WE LOVED (AND WHAT WE DIDN’T) ABOUT LAST NITE’S DRAFT…
BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES:
THE WEEKEND’S BEST SERIES? WHY, OF COURSE, IT’S THE A’S AT THE MARLINS
By Jim Hurley
In case you happen to be keeping a scorecard, our "Jim Sez" Mock Draft wound up getting 26 of the 30 players drafted in Round I of last night’s NBA Draft—just not in all the right places!
Still, you gotta give us some props for nailing the top pick—Cleveland’s choice of Kansas star Andrew Wiggins—even though we forecast a trade with Philadelphia and, let’s face it, we had a whole lot of first-round projected deals but most of ‘em simply didn’t see the light of day.
In the end, the 2014 NBA Draft—the real one officiated by first-year Commissioner Adam Silver—was chock full of action, and now we’ll see what players from this supposedly “loaded” draft become stars of the pro hoops world in the years to come.
You got it—we have own our thoughts on many of the players picked last night and so we’ll get to a batch of NBA Draft-related topics momentarily but first remember this:
If Kansas big man Joel Embiid winds up getting healthy after his surgery on a broken foot, than the Philadelphia 76ers—who nabbed him third overall behind the aforementioned Wiggins and Milwaukee Bucks-bound Jabari Parker—will have hit the mother lode!
Embiid was gonna be the lead-pipe cinch top pick in this draft just two weeks ago before talk stirred around concerning his balky back, but once the foot fracture was discovered, many NBA teams considered him “damaged goods”.
Is Embiid a modern-day Greg Oden or Sam Bowie… or will he wind up being this generation’s mega-star center?
No doubt that is the $64,000 question when it comes to this draft—the analysts can talk till they are blue in the face (and they did just that on ESPN!) but there is no bigger story in the ’14 Draft than whether or not Embiid is “the goods”.
Now, here’s some other topics on the table when it comes to the NBA Draft…
- Hey, no problem with the Cavaliers that they didn’t pull the trigger on a deal for that numero uno pick even though their general manager David Griffin admitted to the ESPN folks that they truly mulled several offers, but nobody could have been happier with the very top of the draft than Milwaukee as the woeful Bucks wanted Chicago native Parker all along and the 6-foot-8 Duke star should be an instant All-Star in this league… you’ll see.
- Meanwhile, it’s safe to say the majority of the top 10 picks pretty much went in order save for a little dip in the ranks for Indiana Hoosiers star Noah Vonleh, who dropped to the ninth spot and was tabbed by Charlotte after the likes of Aaron Gordon (to Orlando), Dante Exum (to Utah), Marcus Smart (to Boston), Julius Randle (to the Los Angeles Lakers) and pure shooter Nik Stauskas (to Sacramento) all went before Vonleh, but count us among the folks that believe the Celtics should have grabbed Randle at the #6 pick and we think Sacramento should have grabbed Creighton’s Doug McDermott, who is a bit more polished than maize-and-blue stud Stauskas…
- Can someone explain to us why the Phoenix Suns—who owned three first-round picks (that’s #14, #18 and #27) -- didn’t trade up into the top 10 and swap a couple of those choices for a major blue-chipper? Okay, so the Suns are continuing to “lengthen” their roster, but we saw a grand opportunity to deal, let’s say, the first and last of their first-round picks for a #9 or #10 draft choice where a McDermott or a Staukas would have been a great fit…
- And we know the whole theory about “stashing” the overseas players for both salary cap reasons and for extra seasoning, but some teams probably need to build up their current rosters with first-round selections, and yet Toronto took Brazil’s Bruno Caboclo with the 20th overall selection when even ESPN foreign player expert Fran Fraschilla said it’s be a long time before this 20-year-old is ready for life in the NBA—why didn’t the Raptors gobble up UConn PG Shabazz Napier and keep him away from the Miami Heat, or maybe Toronto should have used the pick to draft a talent such as Duke’s Rodney Hood. It was a scratch-your-head moment there for sure…
Okay, so we know you’re poring thru our copy here and want to see “winners” and “losers” from this NBA Draft and, while that may be a bit silly and/or premature, we’ll play along and let you know—so here goes:
- Among the winners on NBA Draft Night were the Bulls who acquired McDermott for picks #16 and #19 and likely cleared enough cap space to track down New York Knicks free agent Carmelo Anthony (interesting that the New York Daily News now lists Anthony as a 1-2 favorite to go to Chicago and only 3-to-1 to return to New York City). Throw in the fact McDermott was a four-year star in college and he’ll have a well-rounded game on Day One of the pros while Da Bulls won’t have to waste any time indoctrinating some one-and-done college kid.
- Another under-the-radar winner was those above-mentioned Knicks: somehow Wichita State F Cleanthony Early fell all the way to the second round where New York scooped ‘em up with the 34th overall pick that had been acquired just 24 hours earlier from Dallas in a deal that rid the Knicks of C Tyson Chandler (a bust year in 2013-14) and no-good PG Raymond Felton. Three cheers for new decision-maker Phil Jackson.
- In terms of “losers” on Draft Night, let’s just say a few NBA teams may rue the day they didn’t draft either UCLA’s Kyle Anderson—taken with the final pick in Round I by the champion San Antonio Spurs—or the aforementioned Napier. The former two-time national champ in college was picked by Charlotte at #24 and quickly traded to Miami but the teams in the 20-to-24 pick range (Toronto, Oklahoma City, Memphis and Utah) better have real good reasons to hand their fan base why they didn’t pounce on Napier…
Finally, just some random NBA Draft Night thoughts…
- Didn’t you just love it when the ESPN crew of Rece Davis, Jay Bilas, Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons (that’s left-to-right on your flat screen TV) started some World Cup discussion? What shameless stuff by the all-sports network that just so happens to be carrying the soccer games! Sorry, but if we were any one of those guys we would have been truly embarrassed…
- And what about the fact six of the first nine players drafted were one-and-done college kids—another major sham and we wonder aloud why the likes of Kentucky’s John Calipari and Kansas’ Bill Self go to the draft and hug it out with their high draft picks. It all seems so silly unless the player happened to win you a national championship as Kentucky’s Anthony Davis did a couple of years back…
- Best moments of the Draft happened back-to-back with Michigan State’s Adreian Payne getting selected by Atlanta with the 15h pick—the 6-foot-10 power forward is a large man in other ways after his heartwarming story of befriending a young girl who two months ago died from cancer—as that was immediately followed by the NBA recognizing Baylor’s Isaiah Austin, who recently was detected with Marfan syndrome and won’t be able to pursue an NBA career. Well done.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are banging outs lots of winners in Major-League Baseball these days and all you need to do is 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 the 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!
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Memo to those old-fashioned Major-League Baseball fans who don’t care for Interleague play on the docket each and every day this year:
Be glad it’s here this Friday-Saturday-Sunday because the most interesting series on this final weekend in June is the Interleague set between the Oakland A’s at the Miami Marlins:
OAKLAND (48-30) at MIAMI (39-40)—Fri, Sat & Sun
Let’s just say the visiting A’s really sport the advantage heading into this series as Oakland only had to play a two-game series against the New York Mets at Citi Field this past Tuesday/Wednesday while the Marlins didn’t crawl into bed till the wee hours this morning after an exhausting four-game series split in Philadelphia with the last game in that set going to the Phillies 5-3 in 14 innings (a game that took 4:41 to play and required a total of 13 pitchers).
The A’s will look to get into a pen that was forced to use five different guys last night—including loser Chris Hatcher who surrendered the two-run, walk-off homer by Phillies 2B Chase Utley—and no doubt the Fish need more from table-setters CF Jake Marisnick and LF Ed Lucas, who last night went a combined 2-of-12 with no runs scored.
Keep in mind Oakland has a MLB-best run differential of plus 129 and the team’s 3.14 ERA is the best in the bigs with closer Sean Doolittle having struck out 53 batters with only one walk while saving 11-of-12 games this season—so how come only New York Yankees RHP Mashiro Tanaka is the only dude in the American League getting all the Cy Young love these days?
NOTE: More MLB News & Notes and NNA Draft re-caps in the next edition of Jim Sez, so don’t miss out!