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Steph Curry. Holy (bleep). Seriously. How great was his Game 7 50-point masterpiece? It was the most points ever in a Game 7. Think about that, and all the great players who have played great in Game 7s. He was 13-of-20 inside the arc and finished 50-8-6 with one turnover in 38 minutes. One. Amazing. I was pleased that I watched it.
Kevin Looney. Yes, incredibly rare for two winners of the weekend from the same team, and maybe Looney is just the winner of the first round of these playoffs. But for a team that missed desperately badly on James Wiseman with a high, high, HIGH draft pick a few years ago, the Warriors have found a menacing inside presence in Looney, who in seven games against the Kings was the perfect complement to the high-volume shooting of teammates Curry and Klay Thompson. Looney averaged five shots per game in the seven-game series, but added more than 15 rebounds and 4.3 assists per. He grabbed 21 rebounds in the road win in Game 7 Sunday.
The NBA. Yes, this is more NBA than we normally talk, but all of the NFL draft thoughts will be below. If you are Adam Silver and you could have Kings-Grizz or Curry-LeBron in a second-round Western Conference series, well, getting the latter has to make the man who looks like an alien wearing a human suit very happy.
Tony Finau. Man, dude can golf his ball. His 24 under was three shots clear of Jon Rahm to win the PGA event on Sunday.
Stetson Bennett. He was plucked in round four of the draft on Saturday. Anyone want to bet against him making the Rams' roster?
NBA regular season. In an era of tanking and the discussion of "load management" and saving players for the spring, the first round of these playoffs really worked against the powers that be trying to maintain value and maximum effort for the 82 games that decide who is in the postseason. Look at the first-round results. A deep Miami team that was fresher and healthier bounced a Milwaukee team that worked hard to get the 1 seed. The Lakers bounced the second-seeded Grizzlies, who may have been the hardest working regular-season team. Same with the Warriors.
Braves fans. What should have been a bang-up series for the hometown team got washed out. Hold up, didn't I pick the Braves to have the best record in the East after April in our picks? Someone get the research team on the blower, stat. Still, would have loved to have seen the Braves-Mets duke it out this weekend. And speaking of rain, we were well on our way to the Braves over on Friday night before rain closed the curtain early.
Britney Griner. So, the WNBA star center thinks it would be "criminal" not to allow transgender athletes to compete against biological females. OK. If there's no difference Britney, buckle up and try out for the Suns and see where that gets you. This entire conversation is mind-blowing to me in terms of fairness and the rights — federal, Title IX rights, mind you — of the many clearly being at risk to the rights of the very few. And you know what else, this entire conversation is a monstrous and narrative-changing distraction for what needs to be a serious conversation from our political leaders about better gun control, if you ask me. It also caused Ryan Webb, an Indiana city councilman, to go viral because last week he identified himself as a woman of color. That is completely his choice, and if she's being honest and true, then I wish Ryan Webb well. If she's doing this as a mockery — and likely a step inside Trump's inner circle for the 2024 campaign — then it's a disservice to the countless folks who wrestle with this issue in their daily lives. But the outcry from the LGBTQ community is quite confrontational.
Media. Yeah, like a lot of folks — NASCAR, how you been? — I guess we could put my profession here on a regular basis. But this poll hits me in the gut. (As John Candy famously asked in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" — "That's how Houdini died you know?") The words straight from the story on the AP-NORC poll: " Nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults say the news media is increasing political polarization in this country, and just under half say they have little to no trust in the media's ability to report the news fairly and accurately." Ouch.
Draft blows away
Sigh. The draft is done. I miss the draft. You probably knew that.
But what we have here is a chance to communicate. Let's do the AFC first, and go team by team and list the best pick and the pick that puzzled me to no end. I think it's mighty difficult to grade these things, because as we said Friday, the only thing we know about these players right now is the perceived value at where the player was picked. So, case in point, you have to think the Titans got a major steal with Will Levis in round 2, right?
OK, we'll start with the home-state Titans.
Tennessee — Best pick: Levis. They got a first-round-graded QB in round 2 and did not have to break the bank to get him, plus they added a power O-lineman in the first round to help his transition and Ryan Tannehill's swan song. (Loved this story on Peter Skoronski turning down the invite to the draft hoopla, which reminds me of Joe Thomas spending draft day fishing with his dad. If Skoronski turns out like Joe Thomas, the Titans won the draft.)
Puzzling pick: Gotta go Levis again, because for the life of me Levis > Hendon Hooker still makes no sense to my feeble brain.
Indy — Best pick(s): Josh Downs, the former UNC wideout has the physical tools to be an immediate contributor. Plus, the Colts added defensive pieces in areas of need with four secondary picks and two defensive linemen.
Puzzling pick: As great as the Colts' draft looks in rounds 2-7, GM Chris Bullard's tenure is likely hitched to the S.S. Anthony Richardson. Yes, the Colts needed a QB, and Stroud and Young were off the board, but the QB1 at Florida last year looked nothing like a top-five pick.
Houston — Best pick: Grabbing franchise cornerstones on each side of the ball for a team devoid of star power and leadership was a home run in my view for new coach DeMeco Ryans.
Puzzling pick: Henry To'oTo'o. Puzzling primarily because of how far he fell, and does anyone this side of Paschall really know how to accurately pronounce his name?
Jacksonville — Best pick: Round-three pick Tank Bigsby, the Auburn running back who was a dude with little help last year and will be better on Sundays. War Eagle.
Puzzling pick: The Jags were tackle desperate, and that showed with a reach in round 1, which made sense. But round 2 goes with a reach at tight end. Puzzling to say the least.
Pittsburgh — Best pick: All of them. The two teams in Pennsylvania had monster drafts filled with home runs. And Georgia Bulldogs. Moving up to get a cornerstone left tackle — a pick ahead of the team that was going to take Broderick Jones — was huge. Having Joey Porter, a projected first-round corner, still on the board with their second-rounder made this a great draft.
Puzzling pick: Darnell Washington. It's not puzzling that the Steelers grabbed him round 3; it was puzzling that one of the most-gifted athletes in this draft was still on the board in round 3.
Baltimore — Best pick: Zay Flowers. The Ravens have to keep swinging for high-round WRs until they find one that delivers.
Puzzling pick: Kind of all the rest of them, since the Ravens took projects and big swings, which is strange for a team that just pushed chips in to win now with a QB extension for Lamar Jackson.
Cincinnati — Best pick: Myles Murphy, the Clemson D-lineman. Teams with settled QB futures — and Super Bowl hopes — must do one of two things early in the draft: Find dudes to protect your QB or dudes who can get after the other team's QB. Murphy does the latter better than most.
Puzzling picks: Felt like reaches at WR with a looming free agency decision at the position for the Bengals brass.
Cleveland — Best pick: Love Cedric Tillman, the former UT receiver, and the upside he offers. Also loved grabbing Dorian Thompson-Robinson, the former UCLA QB, who fits the mold of DeShaun Watson so could be a back-up running the same scheme.
Puzzling pick: Have to wonder if the Browns in secret are regretting the monster price it cost when they 'picked' to be the home of Watson, you know?
New England — Best pick: Getting extra pick to move back and still getting Christian Gonzalez, who is the second-best CB in this class at 17, is classic Belichick.
Puzzling pick: Of course, "classic Belichick" also is code for first-round plays like a third-rounder and a third-rounder plays like a first-rounder. So there's that.
Buffalo — Best pick: O'Cyrus Torrence is a first-round dude at a position (guard) that normally falls out of the first day. Bills got an immediate starter in Torrence, which by definition is a great pick.
Puzzling pick: Maybe just some of the position priorities. Taking Dalton Kincaid in round 1 — dude is athletic — was kind of head-scratching since a) the tight end class was so deep that Darnell Washington was a third-rounder and b) the needs at LB seemed greater.
Miami — Best pick: Dervon Achane, the Texas A&M running back, who was properly drafted in the second day. Will be interesting to see which rookie — Achane or Bijan Robinson, who went 8 to Atlanta — has a better first season.
Puzzling pick: Yeah, the Dolphins have to be internally puzzled for losing their round 1 pick for tampering with a QB (Tom Brady) and a coach (Sean Payton) that never saw the field in South Florida.
New York Jets — Best pick: Well, likely one of the picks they traded for Aaron Rodgers. How about that?
Puzzling picks: All the rest.
Kansas City — Best pick: Man, the Chiefs get it. They augment their greatest strengths — QB Patty Mahomes and DC Steve Spagnuolo — with versatility and depth. Loved the Wanya Morris pick.
Puzzling picks: Not adding a tight end — I know Travis Kelce is a monster, but he's getting a little long in the tooth — in a truly great tight end class was kind of a surprise.
Las Vegas — Best pick: In a sneaky good draft, the Raiders delivered on each of their first three selections with edge rusher Tyree Wilson, tight end Michael Mayer and defensive tackle Byron Young.
Puzzling pick: Some of the mid-round reaches felt forced, but that may be a bit too much of a quibble for a draft that looks strong on paper.
Denver — Best pick: Linebacker Drew Sanders from Arkansas will be a fan favorite and make a slew of plays.
Puzzling pick: Yeah, watching the Seahawks turn that high first-rounder into the best CB in the draft as part of the Russell Wilson trade had to hurt.
Los Angeles Chargers — Best pick: I loved the Quentin Johnston pick. Granted not as many were as high on him as I was. But we talk all the time about watching the tape. Well, Johnson's tape at TCU was tremendous.
Puzzling pick: Not finding a RB with the concerns about Austin Ekeler seemed strange.
This and that
— So Jon Rahm has set the single season record for money earned in a PGA season. It's freakin' May 1 people.
— Man of many skills David Paschall has an update about the red-hot UT baseball team.
— So Coach Prime is upset that NFL teams did not take more HBCU players. Uh, Coach Prime, didn't you just leave an HBCU locale for greener pastures? Hypocrite much?
Weekend winners and losers. Go.
Multiple choice Monday will go a little like this:
Which of these QBs will have the best 2023?
— Bryce Young.
— CJ Stroud.
— Anthony Richardson.
As for today, May 1, let's review.
On this day in 1931, the Empire State Building opened.
"Citizen Kane" premiered on this day in 1941. "Kane" overrated, underrated, properly rated?
Tim McGraw is 56. Does he make the Rushmore of a celebrity's kid who made it big in another entertainment/sports genre than their famous parent? (His dad is former MLB relief pitcher Tug McGraw.)
Go and enjoy the day.