Sunday’s Den: Clearing out a cluttered mind…….

13) Unusual situation in the NBA, where Golden State assistant coach Kenny Atkinson was expected to be hired as the new head coach in Charlotte; he even called the assistant coaches in Charlotte to set up interviews, but apparently Atkinson changed his mind and is going to stay as an assistant coach with the Warriors.

Atkinson’s last three years:
2019-20— Head coach, Brooklyn
2020-21— assistant with Clippers
2021-22— assistant with Warriors

Apparently Atkinson now believes that both professionally and personally it would be best to stay with the Warriors; winning is also a lot of fun. Golden State probably gave him a nice raise, too. Money never hurts, and moving every year gets old. 

12) Atkinson has a track record of developing point guards, and guards in general; developing young players is what the NBA is all about now, since kids come out of college way too soon these days.

Warriors have a sub, Gary Payton II who averaged 17.6 minutes/game this year, the first time in his six NBA seasons that he became a regular in a team’s rotation. Payton has played for five teams in the G-League for a total of 128 games; under Atkinson’s tutelage, he’s a contributor on a championship team. He also has pretty good genes; his dad was a great player. 

11) By the way, Steve Kerr is just about due to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame; the guy has nine championship rings, five as a role player, four as the Warriors’ coach. In 14 years as an NBA player, Kerr was on five title teams. It is good to know Michael Jordan.

For his career, Kerr made 45.4% of his 3-point shots. He also led Arizona to the 1988 Final Four. 

10) One of the more interesting players in next week’s NBA Draft will be Shaedon Sharpe, who went to Kentucky last year, practiced with the team but never played in a game.

A 6-6 guard, Sharpe talks a good game: “I see myself being one of the greatest players to ever play the game of basketball, just getting after it and competing” but here’s the thing; no one in the NBA knows how good he is, if he can fit in with a team.

By the time next season starts, he will not have played in a game for 18 or 19 months. Will he even want to play in the NBA Summer League, which is next month in Las Vegas?

Anyway, his story will be interesting to follow Thursday night.

9) Baseball injuries:
— Mets’ P Tyler Megill (shoulder) is shut down for a month
— Angels’ 3B Anthony Rendon (wrist) is done for the season.
— Dodgers’ RF Mookie Betts (cracked ribs) goes on the IL

8) Dodgers, by the way, are 0-5 in extra innings this season; they’re 40-24 and will likely make the playoffs, but they’ve been struggling lately (7-10 in last 17 games). 

7) When baseball has its amateur draft during the All-Stsr break next month, keep in mind that in 1999, the 402nd pick was a pretty good player— Albert Pujols. Not often a 13th round pick is a Hall of Famer, but you never know.

6) Jesse Winker signed a 2-year, $14.5M deal with Seattle this week; he’ll be a free agent after next season. Winker is off to dreadful start with the Mariners, hitting .212. Angels started two lefties in their twin bill Saturday, and Winker didn’t start either game. Not good.

Last year, Winker hit .305 with a .949 OPS for the Reds; moving to a bigger home ballpark has screwed up his approach this year. 

5) My favorite baseball movies:
Moneyball, For Love of the Game, Major League, Bull Durham

4) NFL training camps start next month; there is a very narrow margin between winning and losing for most NFL teams. Think about this: the team that won last year’s Super Bowl went 0-3 in November with a bye week mixed in between. Lot of things have to go your way to win a championship.

3) I signed on with Amazon Prime this week, so I have access to old movies/TV shows and get free shipping on anything I buy from them. Bought a book Thursday and it got delivered in less than 48 hours. They send you an e-mail when it is delivered, with a picture of where they put the envelope. Pretty impressive customer service.

2) Harry the Handicapper checked in this week with a good story; back in 1970, long time ago but not that long ago, Marquette turned down a bid to the NCAA Tournament and decided to play in the NIT instead, which they won.

Al McGuire was Marquette’s coach; he was unique, a total character who later became a great analyst on TV. McGuire wasn’t happy with Marquette’s seeding/placement in the NCAA field, so he said the hell with it and turned the bid down. Seven years later, he won the national title and then retired as coach.

Stuff like that would never, ever happen today; way too much $$$ involved, but the NIT, once upon a time, was a pretty big deal. 

1) Few years ago, I’m driving from Albany to Philadelphia and I stop for gas in New Jersey; I had absolutely no idea that in New Jersey (and Oregon) you’re not allowed to pump your own gas.

So I get out of the car and walk up to the pump and some Asian guy comes running out of the mini-mart and starts yelling at me, before I can start pumping the gas. You learn something every day; I was fine with someone else pumping my gas for me. 

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.