Celtics. Wow, that's impressive. The Celtics have handled the super-tandem of Durant and Kyrie with great tenacity. Jayson Tatum is the best player in the NBA that no one really discusses among the best players in the NBA. In an NBA playoff draw that has no true favorite — heck the 1 seed in the West is one the ropes — there are several teams that could win it all, and we need to realize that the Celtics may be the favorites in that crowded team photo.
Miguel Cabrera. One of seven in the 3,000-500 club and has the highest batting average of that crew. One of three players in MLB history to hit clean-up in a World Series game before turning 21 — Ty Cobb and Juan Soto are the others — and he has hits in 40 big league parks. But there's one that current MLB home field that Cabrera does not have a hit in? Can you name it? Answer in the This and That.
College hoops. Hunter Dickinson is returning to Michigan. Sahvir Wheeler is returning to Kentucky. Caleb Love is returning to UNC. Gang, the preseason hoops struggle to be No. 1 is going to be fierce, and the experienced and familiar names heading into next year's March Madness will harken back to the early 1990s when Duke was Duke and UNLV was nasty and Arkansas was awesome and, well, you get the idea.
Ashley Rogers. The UT fast-pitch ace and Meigs County High alum dropped a perfect game over the weekend, and I do not care if you're pitching in a Father-Son game or against the No. 1 team in the nation, throwing a perfect game is worthy of praise. Way to go Ashley.
UT baseball. Another weekend, another sweep of a well-regarded SEC foe. Friends, and I do not say this lightly, this collection of baseball talent makes this the best collection of players on any UT roster since, what the 2000 football team and the last Pat hoops collection that went undefeated?
Bonus pick: Tyson Fury. Already one of the great names in sports annals (morning Spy), Fury retained his heavyweight belts with a 6th-round KO. Whether we know it or not, Fury's career bona fides — he says he's going to retire as the champ and at 32-0-1 in his 33 career fights — are going to rank among the best ever in the sweet science. (Side note: I know we asked about which sport's self-used moniker between baseball's "National Pastime" of soccer calling itself the "Beautiful Game" was more arrogant and wrong, but boxing embracing the title 'the sweet science' is, well, pretty sweet.)
Atlanta sports weekend. Braves return home after a tough West Coast swing and drop two of three to the perpetually rebuilding Marlins. Hawks return home needing to sweep Games 3 and 4 to stay with the Heat and could muster a one-point win Friday and dropped a disaster on Sunday evening. How bad was the Hawks' 110-86 loss that was so bad you have to believe last year's run to the Eastern Conference Finals was COVID-connected good fortune more than a promising Hawks future. And we'll explore this more later this week when the Hawks' season is finally finished, but I do not believe Trae Young is an A1 star that can deliver a title in these playoffs when every possession is contested.
Yankees fans. What was that? Man, the line between acceptable and unacceptable has been blurred for some time now, but what happened at the House that Ruth Built that Jeter Remodeled was indescribably bad. And two things about throwing stuff on the field: First, it's never acceptable. (Side question: Why is the sports world not more on its ear about this compared to what happened at Neyland Stadium, which we heard about for weeks? IS throwing mustard that much more offensive than throwing beers?) Second, who is throwing these $12 (at least) beers?
NBA. Best series starts at 10 p.m. on a Saturday? Name the biggest star on the team with a legit chance to win it all. OK, Giannis counts. Everyone after that is either aged or rising. And now comes news that the NFL is scheduling a Christmas Day triple header, which will destroy what has been for decades the biggest regular-season TV audience for the NBA.
Anyone trying to cancel Steve Martin. So, last Friday was the 44th anniversary of Martin's brilliant and satirically perfect "King Tut" song on SNL. It made the rounds on social media over the weekend and folks were perplexed and even irked by Martin dressing in ancient Egyptian attire and singing and dancing in what some felt was a mocking way. Well, perfect. Our entire society has lost the ability to take a joke. Whether it's Chris Rock taking a Will Smith right-hand, or the decades-later reassessments of things that were acceptable then but offensive now.
Quiznos. In 2006 it had 5,000 locations nationwide. After the last stores in Idaho shut its doors recently, the number is close to 200 now. Man, that's kind of amazing, right?
Draft in the wind
So the draft is this week. I love the draft. You know this.
We will discuss multiple facets of the draft this week, including best hopes and worst-case scenarios for the Titans and the Falcons.
Good stuff, I know. Someone pinch me. I'm giddy.
Today though, the mocks are coming fast and furious and the projections this year feel more and more like guesses than ever before.
First, that has a lot to do with the lack of that sure-fire QB1 atop the board. Last year was easy. Trevor Lawrence was pegged as the No. 1 overall pick since his junior year. At Cartersville High School.
Before that, Joe Burrow was also pretty locked in after his historic run as a senior at LSU. (Side question: As much as loved what Cam did at AU, it's really pretty simple for me that the two single-season best performances from a college football player is conversation between Burrow's final year at Red Stick, Barry Sanders' mind-bending numbers at Oklahoma State or the year Derrick Thomas had 12 million sacks at Alabama. Thoughts?)
But without that sure-fire QB1 atop the board — and without a slew of teams clamoring to move up to pick a QB in the top three — the early parts of round one could be the most predictable in years.
Which seems especially fitting since the truth of this entire process, is that gauging which players will translate into Sunday stars after being Saturday superstars is harder than ever. How hard? Every player deemed the best at his position across the NFL landscape ranges from early first-round — Jalen Ramsey at CB — to mid-first-round — Aaron Donald at DT — to late first-round — Aaron Rodgers at QB.
Then start looking at the other positions.
Heck, look at these numbers from Pro Football Focus, and which players graded out as the best in their position in 2021 and the draft status will shock you.
QB — Tom Brady, round 6;
RB — Damien Harris, round 2;
WR — Davante Adams, round 2;
TE — Mark Andrews, round 3;
OT — Trent Williams, round 1;
OG — Zach Martin, round 1;
C — Creed Humphrey, round 2;
DE — Myles Garrett, round 1;
DT — Donald, round 1;
LB — Micah Parsons, round 1;
CB — Ramsey, round 1;
S — Kevin Byard, round 3.
So there are as many non-first-rounders ranked atop their positions as first-rounders and exactly one No. 1 overall choice (Garrett).
Hmmmmmm, maybe that's why teams are dealing draft picks for proven players these days.
This and that
— And while we're discussing Ice Cold Trae Young's playoff stinkiness, how about these numbers for a guy who was among the top five in scoring and assist averages during the regular season when teams were shrugging their shoulders as much as checking their assignments defensively: Through four games in this series, Young's averaging 16.5 points, shooting 35% from the floor and 21% from 3 and has as many turnovers as assists (24).
— That's right, Miguel Cabrera does not have a hit at Truist Park in Atlanta.
— Speaking of Atlanta, in a weekend that was mostly a downer in the A-T-L, Kyle Wright looked like John Smoltz Friday night with electric stuff in an 11-K win over the Marlins.
Weekend winners and losers. Go.
Multiple choice Monday starts this way: Which position in the NFL draft offers the most accurate projections?
As for today, April 25, let's review.
Meadowlark Lemon would have been 90 today. He in my mind is the most famous of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Rushmore of barnstorming sports organizations. Go and enjoy this awesome day.