Taking a closer look at some of the best draft picks and overall value by each team after a very busy 2014 NFL Draft:
Via ESPN Insider: After looking through each team’s draft board, these choices stood out as being the best based on what each player brings to the table, how he fits with his new team and where he was drafted in the order (and also who else was available at the time).
Here are my favorite picks of all 32 teams, plus plenty of thoughts on some of the other choices I did or didn’t like for each.
Round 3 (79): Terrence Brooks, S, Florida State
I could have gone with C.J. Mosley, who was the best player on the board when the Ravens took him at No. 17 overall, and is an NFL-ready player who will be a playmaker behind the Ravens’ big defensive front.
But I decided to go with Brooks here, as I think he was a steal in the third round and could develop into an every-down starter for Baltimore given his physicality near the line and range in coverage. He’s always around the football.
Timmy Jernigan, drafted at No. 48 in the second round, is a good player, but I don’t totally understand his fit as a 1-technique. He won’t provide much as a pass rusher, and he comes with some character baggage.
Rd. 1 (4): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson (from CLE)
It came at a high cost (a 2015 first-rounder in the trade with Cleveland to move up from No. 9 to No. 4), but the Bills got the most dynamic offensive playmaker in this draft — and the best wide receiver prospect since A.J. Green — in Watkins. They are going to need to surround second-year QB EJ Manuel with great players to give him a chance to succeed, and in Watkins he will have a true No. 1 target. Read the rest of this entry
KD easily wins the NBA Most Valuable Player Award; his 1st MVP:
Via The NBA — Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder is the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 2013-14 Kia NBA Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced today. It is the first MVP award for Durant, who captured his fourth scoring title in five seasons, joining Wilt Chamberlain, George Gervin and Michael Jordan as the only players to accomplish this feat. Despite teammate Russell Westbrook appearing in only 46 games, Durant guided the Thunder to the NBA’s second-best record at 59-23.
Durant totaled 1,232 points, including 119 first-place votes, from a panel of 124 voters that consisted of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada as well as an NBA.com MVP fan vote, making for 125 total ballots. Read the rest of this entry
Sports Media World’s live courtside video of Damian Lillard’s buzzer beating three pointer as Blazers eliminate Rockets:
L.A Times on the fallout from Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s racist audio recording which bans him for life from the NBA:
L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who for 30 years has presided over the city’s second NBA franchise, became the object of national outrage and the target of an NBA investigation Saturday after allegedly making derogatory remarks about blacks.
In an audio recording, released by celebrity gossip site TMZ, a person identified as Sterling argues with his girlfriend, criticizing her for posting a picture of herself on Instagram posing with Lakers legend Magic Johnson.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people,” Sterling allegedly says, later adding, “I’m just saying, in your … Instagrams, you don’t have to have yourself with, walking with black people. “Don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games.” The release of the recording came after the Clippers’ best regular season and on the eve of Game 4 of the first-round playoff series with the Golden State Warriors. It touched off a furor, with Clippers fans as well as Miami Heat star LeBron James and other top players criticizing Sterling.
Sports Business: The latest Brand Jordan signature sneaker, the Jordan 29, unveiled in New York, set to hit stores in September:
Via Jeffrey Martin
Beaverton, Ore. – Tinker Hatfield is discussing his latest creation, the Air Jordan XX9, and he wishes there were a fancier origin story, something more romantic about the lightest shoe in the line. He has designed 19 versions of Nike’s most iconic shoe, drawing inspiration from motorcycles, race cars and airplanes.
Now, he’s tasked with topping himself.
He, like Nike and subsidiary Jordan Brand, is competing against an incredibly popular and lucrative past. But the challenge is to create something as equally enduring for the future.
“I was literally thinking about designing more and more with computer technology in mind and I was thinking about pixels,” Hatfield told USA TODAY Sports. “High-definition? Sort of, yeah.”
The XX9, introduced Thursday in New York City, features 25 million pixels on its performance woven upper. It’s crafted by Italian artisans using a two-headed jacquard weaving machine normally for high-quality labels or silk neckties — definitely not shoes. It goes beyond appearance, however. From a structural standpoint, each pixel has a specific function and reason for being.
CBS ‘Eye On Basketball’ takes a closer look at the 1st round playoff match-ups as the NBA Playoffs begin this weekend:
San Antonio Spurs (1) vs. Dallas Mavericks (8)
Analysis: Just for old time’s sake, we’re getting a good old-fashioned Tim Duncan-Dirk Nowitzki duel in the playoffs. The Spurs are 4-2 in playoff series against the Mavericks in the Dirk-Duncan era with the Spurs winning the most recent series in 2010. We’re getting two of the best perimeter attack teams in the NBA, who execute with incredible precision.
The biggest key to this series will end up being how the Mavericks’ big men play. Dallas has trouble on the boards and they’re a pretty bad defensive unit in most creations they have with their lineups. Can anybody step up to right the interior ship for Dallas or will Duncan and Tiago Splitter have their way inside and in the series?
Oklahoma City Thunder (2) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (7)
Analysis: After the Grizzlies announced their presence with authority on the playoff scene in 2011, they were outlasted by the Thunder in the second round of the playoffs in a pretty epic series. Last season, we got a rematch but this one was sans Russell Westbrook, which allowed the Grizzlies to take advantage of focusing on Kevin Durant defensively and making the rest of the team beat them.
Connecticut Defeats Kentucky Capping Off A Surprising National Championship Run, Fueled By Senior Shabazz Napier
UCONN’s backcourt led by senior point guard Shabazz Napier too much for Kentucky, as Huskies win 4th title in past 15 years:
Via CBS Sports:
ARLINGTON, Texas — Coaches and players left them. Others told them to go away.
The guys who stuck around at Connecticut ended up with the last laugh and a pretty good prize to go with it: The national title.
Shabazz Napier turned in another all-court masterpiece Monday night to lift the Huskies to a 60-54 victory against Kentucky’s freshmen and bring home a championship hardly anyone saw coming.
“You’re looking at the hungry Huskies,” Napier told the crowd and TV audience as confetti rained down. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you banned us.”
The senior guard had 22 points, six rebounds and three assists, and his partner in defensive lock-down, Ryan Boatright, finished with 14 points.
The victory comes only a short year after the Huskies were barred from March Madness because of grades problems. That stoked a fire no one could put out in 2014.
NCAA March Madness: Looking at key story lines for each of the remaining 4 teams heading to Texas for the Final 4:
Via SI: Making the Final Four means that Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and Wisconsin have eradicated most of the lingering doubts about them.
Still, there are a few questions worth asking about each of the participants at AT&T Stadium this weekend. So we’re asking them, four apiece for each Final Four contender, who are presented here in chronological order.
1. Can Shabazz Napier keep doing this?
Given that the senior guard led his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals during the regular season and has then averaged 23.3 points per game during the NCAA tournament to date, the answer appears to be a resounding yes. Napier has faced stiff backcourt battles for three straight games, against Villanova, Iowa State and Michigan State, and been the best player on the court every time. Read the rest of this entry
NFL: Philadelphia Eagles and Coach Chip Kelly decide to release the team’s most explosive player over off-field concerns:
Via NFL.com: The Philadelphia Eagles announced Friday that DeSean Jackson was informed of his release.
Jackson will finish his six-year Eagles career with 356 receptions, 6,117 yards and 39 total touchdowns.
The end of the Jackson saga comes in the wake of a Friday morning NJ.com report claiming the Eagles have “serious concerns” about the wide receiver’s continued association with reputed Los Angeles street gang members tied to a pair of homicides.
The same report also questions Jackson’s attitude, work ethic, chemistry with coach Chip Kelly and penchant for missing team meetings to hang out with friends.
Jackson addressed the report through a statement obtained by NFL Media.
“First I would like to thank the Eagles organization, the Eagles fans and the city of Philadelphia for my time in Philly,” Jackson said. “I would also like to thank coach Andy Reid for bringing me in. Secondly, I would like to address the misleading and unfounded reports that my release has anything to do with any affiliation that has been speculated surrounding the company I keep off of the field.”
Legendary Coach Phil Jackson returns to the NBA to join the Knicks as new team president in charge of basketball operations:
Via The NY Times: The Knicks introduced Phil Jackson as their new president at a news conference Tuesday morning at Madison Square Garden, where he pledged to be fully committed to the organization and to the tenets of team basketball. He also said that the team had been hindered by a “lack of solidarity” in recent seasons and that he would work to build better relationships.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to do something that I love,” said Jackson, who won 11 N.B.A. championships as a coach with the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, “and that’s be with a basketball team and hopefully create a team that loves each other and plays with each other.”