Friday’s Den: Wrapping up a busy Thursday……..

— I was going to do a running diary of the NBA Draft, but ESPN’s coverage is so unlistenable, I had to mute it and just follow the picks on line. They have four people on their panel, only one of whom (JJ Redick) played in the NBA.

Jay Bilas is a college basketball expert at least; their coverage got better in the second round, when they have to go do draft expert Bobby Marks for info on the more obscure players chosen.

— Bad news for college basketball; only two of their first seven players drafted Thursday have played any college basketball at all. G-League players, foreign kids took center stage in this draft.

The first two college players taken both played at Arkansas; would’ve been nice if ESPN had Hogs’ coach Eric Musselman on for an interview, especially since his wife used to work at ESPN.

— ESPN did manage to get UConn coach Danny Hurley on for an interview; lot of D-I coaches were on the floor (Mike Woodson, John Calipari, Shaka Smart, Bill Self). One thing for sure: TV time helps recruiting. 

Hurley, by the way, signed a 6-year, $33M contract extension with UConn this week.

— This is the 16th draft in a row that Calipari had a first round pick in the NBA Draft.

— It drives me nuts when TV analysts say, “This guy is a winner!!!” because for every winner, there is a loser, and I’m damn sure there are no players who are born losers. It takes a lot of work to become a successful pro athlete; no one is pre-ordained for that level of success.

— Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton declined his $40M option for next year, which makes him an unrestricted free agent. Imagine turning down $40M a year to play basketball? I mean, he will probably make more than that next year, but geez……..

— Golden State traded Jordan Poole to Washington for Chris Paul; Warriors also will send 2022 second-round pick Ryan Rollins and two future picks to the Wizards.

— 4th and 5th picks in the draft were twin brothers:
Houston took Amen Thompson with the 4th pick
Detroit took Ausar Thompson with the 5th pick

— Jordan Hawkins was the 14th pick in the draft; last year, he played only 14.7 minutes a game at UConn, scoring 5.8 ppg.

Instead of whining/transferring, he worked hard at his game, and this season, he played 29.3 minutes a game, scoring 16.3 ppg for the national champs. Now he is going to be really rich.

— There was a 3-way trade:
Celtics got Kristaps Porzingis, the 25th pick (Marcus Sasser) and a 2024 2nd round pick.
Grizzlies got Marcus Smart
Wizards got Tyus Jones, Danilo Gallinari, Mike Muscala and the #35 pick (Julian Phillips)

— Every year at the draft, Jay Bilas seems surprised that a lot of pro basketball players have a long wingspan. Lot of guys who are 6-foot-8 have very long arms— go figure.

— Bobby Marks pointed out that teams who are in win-now mode (Miami, Denver, Golden State) are more apt to draft older players, “win-now” guys, while struggling teams might take a younger player that they can develop over time.

— Charlotte took UCLA G Amari Bailey with the 41st pick; Bailey played high school ball with Bronny James at Sierra Canyon HS in Los Angeles— they were in the series on Amazon that showcased that high school team. 

Amari Bailey showed up at the draft Thursday wearing a suit jacket with no shirt and some gold chains; interesting fashion choice.

Damn I’m getting old.

— Royals 6, Rays 5— Kansas City trailed 5-3 after seven innings, but they rallied for the win. KC has split its last six games, after starting the season 18-51.

Rays’ ace pitcher Shane McClanahan left the game with back tightness.

— Twins 6, Red Sox 0— Joe Ryan tossed a complete game shutout for Minnesota. 

— Braves 5, Phillies 1 (10)— Game was scoreless thru nine innings; Kyle Schwarber misplayed a line drive in left field that helped the Braves break the game open in the 10th.

— Padres 10, Giants 0— San Diego snaps the Giants’ 10-game winning streak.

— Marlins 6, Pirates 4— Miami scored five runs in the bottom of the 8th for the comeback win. Garrett Cooper’s 3-run homer was the decisive blast.

— Movie of the Day— Rounders (1998)— A young gambler returns to playing high stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks, while balancing his relationship with his girlfriend and his commitments to law school.

Matt Damon is the star; Edward Norton is his slimy friend. Martin Landau is excellent as a law professor, John Malkovich is a Russian mobster who runs an underground poker room.

Very good movie that helped inspire the poker boom 25 years ago; the guys who wrote this movie also write the Showtime series Billions. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.