5-at-10: Recruiting, NBA deals, Braves review

5-at-10: Recruiting, NBA deals, Braves review

July 10th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

From the "Talks Too Much" Studios, here we go...

Recruit 2.0

Robert Nkemdiche is the nation's top college football prospect, and by most accounts, it's not close. Dude is 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds and is fast enough to be the leading rusher in the state championship game last year in Georgia's largest classification. He's a beast.

He picked Clemson earlier this summer. It's a fine school, and his high school coach roomed with Tigers coach Dabo Swinney at Alabama.

Now, Nkemdiche is facing significant backlash after saying he was "a done deal" to Clemson if the Tigers offered a teammate a scholarship.

Let's cut Nkemdiche at least a little slack. Dude is 17 - and a super talent at 17 who until now has been amazingly forthright on the recruiting trail, which is not the easiest trail to navigate. Who among us did not say something dumb at 17? (Other than Spy of course.)

By all accounts, Nkemdiche is a good kid. He avoided a bunch of the hubbub that surrounds national top recruits and he deserves a mulligan if for no other reason than he did not schedule his announcement on ESPNU or do the hat dance with five caps in front of him on the local news.

What gets us is the "done deal" part. How many of these kids commit and then take other visits or listen to other coaches whisper sweet somethings into their ears? And hey, that's the game and the system we deal in so it is what it is.

This is yet another reason why there should be an early signing period in the first week of August. Alas.

Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard (12) is defended by New York Knicks' Tyson Chandler (6) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, March 28, 2012, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Trade swirls around the NBA

The Brooklyn Nets appear bound and determined to land Dwight Howard. There are talks of three-team deals and four-team deals and trading every pick this side of the old-school Waterpik.

We have to admit, in the era of Big 3s, a potential trio of Howard, Joe Johnson and Deron Williams is pretty stout. We'd rank it just behind Miami's Big 3 and even with OKC's Big 3.

Not surprisingly the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in helping make the Nets' deal happen. Yes, the same Cavs that were jilted by LeBron. Yes, the same Cavs owned by Dan Gilbert, who owns the FatHead franchise and who, after LeBron left, lowered the price on the LeBron FatHead to $17.41 - the same year Benedict Arnold was born. (Gilbert is such a bitter old man he may have "Get off my lawn" tattooed on his arm.)

Hey, if we're getting to the point where no more than eight teams are going to have Big 3s and those eight teams fight it out for the title great.

Let's assume the Nets land Dwight Howard, here are the seven that have a chance to win it all:

1) Heat - Big 3 already set and added Ray Allen, who will average six 3s per game next year getting a river of open looks.

2) OKC - Big 3 set.

3) Spurs - Big 3 is set, aging, but set; while Parker, Ginobli and an aging Duncan are the least impressive Big 3, the surrounding cast is better and the coach is the best.

4) Nets - Assuming Howard comes aboard and they have enough cap space and players to avoid the Hickory Huskers' "May team is on the floor" move.

5) Celtics - Big 3 (Rondo replaces Allen) welcomes Jason Terry.

6) Lakers - Big 1 as in Kobe plus Bynum, Gasol and Nash can really score; they couldn't guard a geriatric minimum security facility but they can score.

7) Bulls - Not a factor with Derrick Rose on the shelf

The rest of the league will have to dangle their assets to teams searching to complete a Big 3 in an effort to strike a lottery golf mine like the New Orleans Sterns did with Anthony Davis.

Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann (16) tags out New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira during the fifth inning of a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Tuesday, June 19, 2012.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Braves catch their breath

This may be the perfect year for Brian McCann to miss the All-Star game. Dude needs a break.

In fact, here are five quick-hit observations on the South's favorite baseball team:

1) Bourn the best: Michael Bourn has been the everyday MVP for this team. The Braves need to make every effort to sign him long-term, especially in these post-PED days of reduced homers. Bourn creates offense. Period.

2) Kimbrel the great: Finish this sentence, "The Braves are sunk because __ got hurt." Yep, if something happens to about anyone else on the roster, the Braves can cope heck it feels like they already have accomplished that. But if closer Craig Kimbrel goes down, it's a lost cause.

3) McCann and Uggla will rebound: You know we embrace that baseball is a long season and we trust it. But averages are averages because they average out. (That should be in a fortune cookie somewhere. Get Kim Jong Il on the blower stat.) And the averages say McCann will get to .280-plus and Uggla will get back to around .250, which means each will have stout Julys.

4) Injuries are inexplicable: How is it that Tommy Hanson and his rickety delivery works and Brandon Beachy with his perfect form needs arm surgery?

5) The Braves are right in the middle of this: And we still think the Nationals, who own a 4.5-game lead over the Braves, will have a rocky stretch in front of them very soon.

This and that

- Detroit Lions defensive tackle Nick Fairley said this weekend that, despite his multiple offseason arrests, he's still a great guy. OK. By the way, he gave the interview at a children's charity kickball tournament. Admit it, you're wondering whether he was kickball stud or dud, aren't you?

- OK, we try to be a sympathetic 5-at-10. We don't want folks to be ill or injured. But is there any way to feel sorry for those folks who were gored while running with the bulls in Spain? Here's betting that before the start of the annual event in Pamplona, more than one guy said, "Militas mi cerveza."

- Congrats to UTC for having two preseason All-Americans, as Mocs football ace John Frierson tells us here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/jul/10/utc-duo-preseason-all-america-chattanooga/. Side note: We'd be shocked if there are four defensive ends better and more productive in the FCS than UTC stud Josh Williams, who made the third team. So it goes.

Today's question

This is the slowest three days of the sports calendar.

In fact, these three days leave us with the All-Star game, the All-Star game festivities and the ESPYs.

Gang, take this chance to spend quality time with family. Want to know how slow it's going to be? We scheduled some dental work for Wednesday and know that if we're under the gas for most of the day we won't miss a thing.

Is there anything more worthless in sports than the Espys? Have you or anyone you know ever watched the Espys? Is the definition of a gambling problem betting on the Home Run derby?

(And Spy was right about begging for something on TV other than the home run derby Monday night. It was brutal, save the part where the Kansas City crowd booed Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano after every out of his homerless dismissal.)