The NBA became the latest sports league to hold a remote draft last night, which means we not only got to enjoy the sights and sounds of young men achieving a lifelong dream -- we got to watch it play out on pixelated webcams and shoddy audio! (At one point I'm pretty sure Bruce Pearl did a full interview while on FaceTime in an Arby's parking lot.)
While the presentation of actual sports games haven't taken too much of a hit during this pandemic, I will say I'm very ready to get back to watching in-person drafts. It's hard to replace the fanfare, the fashion and the stage experience.
That being said, we still have plenty to discuss from the draft and beyond this morning, so let's get to it.
📰 What you need to know
1. Everything that happened at the 2020 NBA Draft 🏀
The 2020 NBA Draft is officially in the books and now it's time for us to talk about the night that was. Of course, the draft experience was stranger than your average year thanks to the pandemic -- it's November and the event was almost fully virtual -- and, if we're being honest, it wasn't quite as exciting or dramatic as I had hoped.
That being said, we've still got a brand new class of NBA rookies, and that's worth getting excited about. There wasn't a consensus top pick heading into last night, but it was Georgia's Anthony Edwards who ended up going to the Timberwolves with the first overall selection.
Our David Cobb wasn't crazy about Minnesota's decision to roll with Edwards. He says the talent is obviously there but there are also red flags when it comes to Edwards' game and his commitment to the craft.
- Cobb: "For a franchise that just traded an underwhelming former No. 1 overall pick in January when it parted with Andrew Wiggins, Edwards carries some alarming similarities. Both were one-and-done guards considered the No. 1 overall player in their respective recruiting classes by 247Sports. Neither did anything in college to hurt their NBA Draft stock, but neither were the model of efficiency during their brief college careers, either ... An examination of Edwards' intangibles reveals more questions than answers with just over a month to go until he is scheduled to begin his NBA career."
We've got plenty more draft coverage for you to pore over as well, so here's a rundown of some stuff you might be interested in:
- A full pick-by-pick recap of both rounds
- Our Gary Parrish handed out grades and analysis for each pick. He handed out plenty of A+ marks in the first round but was particularly disappointed with the Bulls (Patrick Williams at No. 4 overall) and the Suns (Jalen Smith at 10th overall)
- Brad Botkin delivered seven big takeaways from the night, including the possibility of the Russell Westbrook market taking a hit with LaMelo Ball going to the Hornets
I'll say this: As a fan of pure chaos, I do love the idea of Lavar Ball intruding on the Hornets and going head-to-head with Michael Jordan eventually. (We can all agree that's inevitable, right?)
There were a few trades that registered on the noteworthy meter yesterday, too -- including Al Horford going to the Thunder -- and, more importantly, another potentially devastating Klay Thompson injury. Plus, there's plenty of opportunity for the NBA to get a little crazy in the coming days, as free agency opens tomorrow. The draft may have just been the calm before the storm.
2. What the Mets can do with the $24M Robinson Cano is saving them ⚾
Say it ain't so, Robbie Cano.
A very interesting offseason for the New York Mets got even more eventful on Wednesday when it was announced that Cano had once again tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. With this being his second positive test (Cano previously tested positive in 2018), he'll miss the entire 2021 season and be forced to forfeit his $24 million salary.
Cano, 38, is coming off a season in which he posted a 316/.352/.544 batting line with 10 home runs in 49 games played during the pandemic-shortened season ... so, uh, maybe those two things aren't unrelated. As for what it means for the Mets, they've now got a clear path to reinsert Jeff McNeil at second base and also an extra $20+ million freed up to spend next season.
So, how might they use that money? I'm glad you asked because our Katherine Acquavella has some ideas:
- Sign DJ LeMahieu: Stealing a top bat from their crosstown rival? Spicy, but it makes sense for the Mets. LeMahieu is coming off a great season in which he won his second batting title and finished third in MVP voting. The Mets need a top of the order bat and can find a spot for him in the infield with Cano out of the picture
- Sign a pair of top free agents: New owner Steve Cohen has been clear that he's willing to spend in order to contend. The Mets could go out and make a statement by grabbing two top-flight free agents from this class -- perhaps outfielder George Springer and catcher J.T. Realmuto -- and frontload the deals before Cano is back on the books
- Trade for an infielder: If the Mets don't strike in free agency, they could use some of that found money on a player acquired via trade. Kris Bryant, Nolan Arenado and Francisco Lindor are all top infielders that are expected to be on the block this winter and New York could make a play for any of them
Honestly, it's not the worst spot to be in if you're the Mets. They've got options. As for Cano, well, you can imagine that having to forfeit $24 million must hurt, but there's also the question of how much this is going to hurt his legacy. You might be able to overlook one positive test while filling out a Hall of Fame ballot, but two? He's probably going to be sitting with a lot of regret for a long time.
3. Most of Raiders' defense placed on COVID-19 list 🏈
The Raiders are getting ready for a big primetime game against the Chiefs on Sunday night but those preparations have hit a snag this week thanks to a possible COVID-19 outbreak in Las Vegas' locker room.
- Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell and cornerback Lemarcus Joyner both tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday
- Due to possible exposure, most of the Raiders' starting defensive unit has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list
- Johnathan Abram, Isaiah Johnson, Arden Key, Maliek Collins, Johnathan Hankins and Kendal Vickers have all been flagged and will not be allowed to participate in this week's practices
- Those players on the reserve list could still play on Sunday if they test negative for the virus throughout the week
That's tough news for Las Vegas as they sit 6-3 and just two games back of the Chiefs in the AFC West heading into the weekend. The Raiders handed Kansas City its lone loss of the season back in Week 5. It's also worth noting that this isn't Las Vegas' first run-in with COVID-19 issues. They've already been penalized twice by the NFL for failing to follow league protocols and the team has lost more than $1.2 million (plus a sixth-round draft pick) as a result of those penalties.
We'll have to keep an eye on the situation to see if any additional Raiders test positive in the days ahead and, if so, how the NFL will handle this weekend's big game. Even if it's not postponed, there's a chance it could be flexed to earlier in the day on Sunday. We've already seen the NFL take precautions to ensure that their Sunday Night Football games are protected and there's always a game to show, so they may do the same here if there are more players ruled out.
4. Ranking college football coaches on the hot seat 🏈
As we discussed yesterday, Jim Harbaugh will likely be out of a job at Michigan after this disastrous season. He'll probably be the biggest name out of a job, but he won't be alone. Who else could join him, you ask? (Besides Will Muschamp, of course, who was already fired this week.)
Well, it's a good thing that Dennis Dodd has put together a ranking of hot seats across college football right now. Let's have a look at some of the other coaches that might have to clean out their office if they don't finish this season strong:
- Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: Vandy is off to an 0-6 start and has a 3-15 record in their last 18 games (1-13 SEC) under Mason.
- Ed Orgeron, LSU: It might seem like a preposterous idea considering LSU won the national championship last year, but this season has been a bit of a disaster in Baton Rouge. Not only has the team been awfully shaky on the field, but now there are also allegations that the program ignored claims of sexual abuse by players
- Les Miles, Kansas: The Jayhawks are 0-6 and have given up the second-most points in the country (339). Miles is 3-15 in two years at KU and impatience could start kicking in soon
Dodd also goes through which coaches are holding steady and which saw their seat cool off a bit this year, so it's worth checking out the whole list right here. I do wonder if some programs might give a struggling coach more slack after this season given all the bizarre circumstances that have been presented in 2020.
📝 Odds & Ends
- The Warriors fear that Klay Thompson suffered a significant Achilles injury on Wednesday. He's scheduled for an MRI today.
- Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert got a new haircut and everyone made fun of him for looking like a middle schooler
- The Giants unexpectedly fired offensive line coach Marc Colombo
📺 What to watch tonight
🏈 Cardinals vs. Seahawks, 8:20 p.m. | SEA -3 | TV: NFLN
📝 Top scores from last night
Western Michigan QB Kaleb Eleby only completed 12 passes but threw for 382 yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Dwayne Eskridge caught four passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
💵 Winning wagers: WMICH -1, Over (59.5)