NBA LOTTERY DRAFT WAS A GREAT NIGHT FOR THE LEAGUE’S INTEGRITY...
PELICANS HOPE LANDING ZION WILL CONVINCE ANTHONY DAVIS TO STAY
The New Orleans Pelicans won the NBA Draft Lottery Tuesday night. They had a mere 6 percent chance of landing the pick – presumably Duke power forward Zion Williamson – and defied the odds.
Shortly after the Pelicans won the lottery, the team sold approximately 2,000 season tickets.
The big hope is that the addition of Williamson will convince superstar Anthony Davis to drop his trade demands and stay in New Orleans. Davis, Williamson, point guard Jrue Holiday and forward Julius Randle would be a terrific nucleus and make the Pelicans a top-four team in the Western Conference.
The New York Knicks were Williamson’s preferred destination and he was not overjoyed by New Orleans getting the No. 1 pick.
Trading Davis and/or the No. 1 pick would at the very least bring in a tremendous amount of fresh talent.
An even bigger winner Tuesday night than the Pelicans was the NBA. The integrity of the league got a big boost. The lottery obviously was not fixed, small markets New Orleans and Memphis got the top two picks and “tankers” took huge hits.
Tanking took a huge hit. The three teams suspected of trying to lose to improve their odds of landing the No. 1 overall pick (Williamson) – primarily the New York Knicks, Cleveland and Phoenix – did not “earn” one of the top two picks.
The Knicks at least drew the No. 3 pick in what is considered to be a “three-player draft” (Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett).Cleveland got the No. 5 pick (new coach John Beilein was hoping for Zion) and Phoenix got the No. 6 pick.
The Lakers were winners, too – for a change. They landed the No. 4 pick – up from the 11th-best odds to get the No. 1 pick. Virginia forward De’Andre Hunter would be a reasonable pick.
I was happy to see the Knicks and their fans so demoralized by losing out on the chance to draft Williamson. Incompetent management should never be rewarded and fans shouldn’t root for their team to lose.
THE NFL QUARTERBACK CLASS OF 2013 WILL LIVE IN INFAMY
The 1983 NFL Draft will forever be remembered for the record six quarterbacks selected in the first round, including Pro Football Hall of Famers John Elway, Dan Marino and Jim Kelly, plus Todd Blackledge, Tony Eason and Ken O’Brien.
The 2013 BNFL Draft – 30 years the best QB draft bonanza – will be recalled as the worst QB class.
Only 11 quarterbacks were among the 254 picks. That was low compared to most drafts, but obviously was too many.
The first QB selected in 2013 was EJ Manuel by the Buffalo Bills – No. 16 overall.
It wasn’t Manuel’s fault that the Buffalo’s scouts overrated him. He had all the physical tools at Florida State but lacked consistency. No one projected him as a first-round pick – except a few people Buffalo’s front office.
I remember a caller to my radio show who went to Florida State and enjoyed pointing out that nearly everyone on the football team thought the best QB on campus was the one who didn’t play – freshman Jameis Winston.
Manuel started only 17 games in four seasons with Buffalo, was a backup for Oakland in 2017, never played in 2018 and announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday. He’s 29 years old, has made around $10 million in the NFL and has a bright future in whatever he chooses to do. No one ever said he wasn’t a hard worker or a good teammate.
Former Kansas City Chiefs scout Jim Nagy quickly reminded us that “a current prominent NFL GM told me he projected Manuel as a tight end. I graded him a No. 3 QB. Perfect example of a team needing a QB and reaching for a QB.”
Here’s how the QB Class of 2013 fared:
EJ Manuel (Florida State) No. 16 overall by Buffalo – 30 career games, including 18 starts with the Bills and 2 with Oakland ...6-12-0 record...343-of-590 (.581) for 3,767 yards...20 TD passes...16 interceptions.
Geno Smith (West Virginia) No. 39 by the Jets -- Also cashed paychecks from the NY Giants and LA Chargers. Recently signed by Seattle to back-up Russell Wilson, who almost always plays....Career stats: 40 games, 31 starts...12-19-0 record...523-of-906 (.577) for 6,182 yards....29 TD passes...36 INTs.
Mike Glennon (North Carolina State) No 73 by Tampa Bay --Also cashed paychecks from Chicago and Arizona.Signed by Oakland March 22, 2019...Career stats: 27 games, 22 starts...6-16-0 record...482 of 791 (.609) for 5,107 yards...35 TD passes...20 INTs.
Matt Barkley (USC) No. 98 by Philadelphia...Also cashed checks with Chicago and Buffalo)...Career stats: 12 games, 7 starts...2-5-0 record...174 of 291 (.598) for 2,143 yards...10 TD passes...18 INTs.
Ryan Nasib (Syracuse) No. 110 by New2 York Giants...5 games, 0 starts...0-0-0...Career stats: 9-of -10 (.900; not too shabby) for 128 yards...1 TD pass...0 INTs.
Tyler Wilson (Arkansas) No. 112 by Oakland...Also cashed paychecks from Tennessee and Cincinnati...Career stats: 0 games.
Landry Jones (Oklahoma) No. 115 by Pittsburgh...Also cashed paychecks from Jacksonville...Signed with Oakland March 26, 2019...Career stats: 19 games, 5 starts; 3-2-0 record...Career stats: 108-of-169 (.639) for 1,310 yards...8 TD passes...7 INTs.
Brad Sorenson (Southern Utah) No. 221 by San Diego. Also collected paychecks from Tennessee and Minnesota...Career stats: 0 games.
Zac Dysert (Miami/Ohio) No. 234 by Denver. Also collected paychecks with Chicago, Houston, Buffalo, Miami, Arizona and Dallas. All those teams must have liked something...Career stats: 0 games.
B.J. Daniels (South Florida (No. 237 by San Francisco. Also collected paychecks from Houston, NY Giants, Chicago, Atlanta, CFL Saskatchewan Rough Riders and the AAF, Salt Lake City Stallions (didn’t make the 52-man roster). A few teams tried him art running back and wide receiver...Career stars: 8 games, 0 starts; 0-0 record; 1-of-2 for 7 yards;...0 TD passes; 0 INTs...6 rushes for 6 yards.
Sean Renfree (Duke) No. 249 by Atlanta. Career stats: 2 games, 0 starts...3-of-7 (.429) for 11 yards...0 TD passes...1 INT.
Combined stats: 143 games, including 83 starts...29-54-0 record...103 TD passes...98 INTs.
SPRAYING BASEBALL HITS TO ALL FIELDS
The Houston Astros are looking like MLB’s best team. They have a 28-15 record after Tuesday night’s 11-4 win in Detroit. They’ve won 7 straight games and are 10-1 in their last 11 games. They’ve scored 45 runs the last 4 games and have slammed 32 home runs in their last 11 games.
More proof that the state of Florida hates baseball: the two teams at the bottom of this season’s average home attendance entering Tuesday night were the Tampa Bay Rays 14,540 and the Miami Marlins 9,668. Miami at least has an excuse. The Marlins are a terrible baseball team. But the Rays are very good. The Rays won Tuesday night at Miami 4-0 before 6,036 fans. The Marlins are playing like a Triple-A team (10-30 record) and drawing like a Triple-A team.
I wonder if the fans will vote Philadelphia slugger Bryce Harper as a starter for the All-Star Game, He was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts in Tuesday night’s 6-1 home loss to Milwaukee. He leads MLB with 20 multiple-strikeout games and has four games with four Ks. He’s on pace to strike out 213 times and his batting average is .000. He is playing solid defense in right field.
CINCINNATI DID WHAT ROCHESTER COULDN’T DO: MADE IT TO MLS
Not so long ago, Rochester appeared destined to join Major League Soccer. We even built a soccer-friendly downtown stadium in anticipation of being welcomed into North America’s No. 1 pro soccer league.
It didn’t happen. Rochester was bypassed by MLS and it probably was a good thing. Our downtown soccer facility is far too small by current MLS standards. An under-financed Rochester team lacking wealthy ownership and short on major corporate sponsors probably would’ve been a lousy MLS team , attendance would’ve been poor and the team probably would’ve folded by now.
Sadly, Rochester no longer has a pro soccer team. The minor-league Rhinos are in limbo for the second season with no immediate signs of revival.
Meanwhile, pro soccer is booming in Cincinnati.FC Cincinnati is a MLS expansion team after leading the USL Championship league in attendance three years in a row
FC Cincinnati is struggling on the pitch. The team recently changed head coaches and has a 3 wins, 7 losses, 2 ties record.But the average home attendance of 27,363 ranks third in the 24-team MLS. FC Cincinnati has 20,000-plus season-ticketholders and expects to move into a new 26,000-seat soccer-specific stadium in 2021.
SAD END FOR ONE OF THE GREATEST HORSES AT FINGER LAKES
Three-time Finger Lakes Race Track Horse of the Year Breakin the Fever was euthanized after a spill in a race at Thistledown in Ohio on May 1.The 7-year-old gelding was bred, owned and trained by Debra Brreed and raced almost exclusively at Finger Lakes.
His career record was 20 wins, 5 seconds and 3 thirds in 38 starts, with $538,707 career earnings. At one point, he was 17 for 20 at Finger Lakes.
His best win was the 2016 Hudson Handicap at Belmont. Shipping in from Finger Lakes and ridden by regular jockey Nazario Alvrado, he upset 2-to-5 favorite Weekend Hideway, ridden by Luis Saez, of Maximum Security 2019 Kentucky Derby fame.
Breakin the Fever’s other accomplishments include winning the Leon Reed Memorial Stakes three years in a row and the George Barker Stakes twice.
He had very good speed but was versatile and could win from off the pace.
After winning the Hudson, a proud Debra Breed remarked, “He’s a good, game horse. We’re blessed. He’ll run until he can’t anymore.”
Oovada odds to win this week’s PGA Championship: Tiger Woods 10x1...Brooks Koepka 10x1...Dustin Johnson 11x1...Rory McIlroy 12-to-1...Jon Rahm 18x1...Justin Rose 20x1...Rickie Fowler 20x1...Jason Day 22x1...Francesco Molinari 25x1...Xander Schauffele 25x1...Tommy Flettwood 33x1...Tony Finau 35x1...Jodan Spieth is 45-to-1.
xxxFor the record, the top four teams in Major League Soccer average home attendance this season are the Atlanta United 51,680...Seattle Sounders FC 38,245...FC Cincinnati 27,363...Toronto FC 24,779.
Interestingly, here’s the average attendance this season for the Major League Baseball teams in those cities: Atlanta Braves 29,744... Seattle Mariners 23,681... Cincinnatii Reds 17,139...Toronto Blue Jays 19,841.
xxxFiveThirtyEight probabilities to win the NBA Championship after Golden State’s 116-94 home win over Portland Tuesday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals: Warriors 67 percent...Toronto Raptors 20 percent...Milwaukee Bucks 13 percent...Portland Tail Blazers less than 1 percent.
xxxYale junior via Victor High School TD Ierlan continues to rake in the college lacrosse honors. He was selected Ivy League Player of the Year, First Team All-American and he’s a Tewaaraton Award(top college lacrosse player).
HAPPY SPORTS BIRTHDAY TO...
Wednesday, May 15
Alex Verdugo 23...Jordan Eberle 29...Michael Brantley 32...Brian Dozier 32...Andy Murray 32...Ersan Ilyasova 32...Josh Johnson 33...Justin Morneau 38...Josh Beckett 39...Ryan Leaf 43...Ray Lewis 44...AJ Hinch 45...Desmond Howard 49...Wes Walz 49...Emmitt Smith 50...Leroy Hoard 51...John Smoltz 52...Paul Ysebaert 53...Joey Browner 59...Freeman Williams 63...George Brett 66...Pat Hickey 66...Don Nelson 79.
Thursday, May 16.
Jeff Skinner 27...Corey Perry 34...A.J. Feeley 42...JThurman Thomas 53...John Salley 55...Jack Morris 64...Rick Rhoden 66...Rick Reuschel 70...Jim Langer 71...Floyd Smith 84. Megan Fox 33, Tori Spelling 46, Janet Jackson 53, Pierce Brosnan 66 and Danny Trejo 75 are invited to the birthday party.
ON THIS DATE IN SPORTS...
May 15 – 101 years ago (1918), Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson won a 1-0, 18-inning game...93 years ago (1926), Albert Johnson won the 52nd Kentucky Derby aboard Bubbling Over...82 years ago (1937), Charley Kurtsinger won the 62nd Preakness Stakes aboard War Admiral...78 years ago (1941), Joe DiMaggio started his 56-game hitting streak...71 years ago (1948), Eddie Arcaro rode Citation to victory in the 7erd Preakness, the second leg of their Triple Crown...66 years ago (1953), heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano KOd Jersey Joe Wolcott in Chicago...49 years ago (1970), the International Olympic Committee voted to expel South Africa...46 years ago (1991), President George H. W. Bush took Queen Elizabeth to the Oakland A’s at Baltimore Orioles game...The Red Sox and the White Sox played the slowest nine-inning game (4:11)...20 years ago (1999), Chris Antley rode Charismatic to victory in the 124th Preakness...9 years ago (2010), Jessica Watson, age 16, became the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world.
150 years ago (1869), the Cincinnati Reds played their first baseball game and won 41-7...137 years ago (1882), Babe Hurd rode Apollo to victory in the 8th Kentucky Derby...125 years ago (1894), a fire in Boston destroyed the city’s baseball stadium and 170 other buildings...105 years ago (1914), the American Horseshoes Association organized in Kansas City...94 years ago (1925), Earl Sande rode Flying Ebony to victory in the 51st Kentucky Derby...65 years ago (1954), Ted Williams had eight hits in a doubleheader in his return from a broken collarbone...44 years ago (1975), Muhammad Ali TKOd Ron Lyle in 11 for the heavyweight boxing title...39 years ago (198 0), the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers 4 games to 2 for the 34th NBA Championship...10 years ago (2009), Calvin Borel rode Rachel Alexandra to victory in the 134th Preakness Stakes.