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Miscellaneous Sports Natterings

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 11:01 am

With the conclusion of the CHS Sports for the 2018-19 school year, ‘Nado Natterings’ morphs into a general interest sports column. So, here are some stray sports thoughts that have accumulated over the past several weeks… As a Chicago Bear fan, players who have worn the Green Bay Packer uniform aren’t particular favorites of Your Natterer. However, the recent passing of Packer quarterback legend Bart Starr was sad but served as a reminder to sports fans of his greatness. Starr, who had been in poor health in recent years, passed away at the age of 85. He was a class act during and after his career. For younger readers, Starr and Packer Head Coach Vince Lombardi were the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick of their day… San Diego Union-Tribune Columnist Nick Canepa raised an interesting point about the NBA Draft Lottery held recently. His theory is the team with the worst record should get the No. 1 pick, which on the surface, is hard to argue with. In a perfect world where teams don’t lose on purpose to gain an advantage in player selection, he would be correct. In the first years of the NBA, specifically from 1950-66, college players could be selected by professional teams by means of a Territorial Draft Pick, which allowed teams to acquire players from their geographical area who might help attendance. If a territorial pick was exercised, which was defined as any player within a 50-mile radius of the home arena, the team lost their first round draft pick. The Cincinnati Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) as an example, benefitted by selecting Oscar Robertson from the University of Cincinnati and Jerry Lucas from Ohio State University and both players went on to Hall of Fame careers. For those of you who know Ohio Geography, the Royals were able to select Lucas because his hometown of Middletown, Ohio is 38 miles from Cincinnati, versus 107 miles from Columbus, the home of Ohio State, to Cincinnati. Other territorial picks included Wilt Chamberlain from Overbrook High School in Philly by the Philadelphia Warriors, the precursor to Golden State Warriors; Bill Bradley from Princeton to the New York Knicks; and Walt Hazard and Gail Goodrich from UCLA by the Lakers. The point is, the perfect draft procedure has yet to be determined for the sport where one player can turn a franchise around for a decade. The honor system has proven not to work in the NBA, and if there were a system for a true rookie free agent sale, as an example for the likes of Duke’s Zion Williamson, it’s hard to predict how expensive that would be. So for now, the weighted lottery the best option … Speaking of Williamson, some are questioning his ability to transition into the NBA. He’s not a great outside shooter, but Magic Johnson couldn’t successfully shoot a jumper into the ocean from the shore when he first entered the NBA, but he became an effective shooter and scorer for the Lakers. Williamson, if paired with an above average point guard who can get him the ball where he can use it on offense, will be a force in the NBA… One of the best NBA players I ever saw compete in person was Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers. Truly great on both ends of the floor, West has recently been named as a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Donald Trump… Somebody should tell Laker Owner Jeannie Buss that neither ownership by committee nor management by committee works. I love Magic Johnson as a Hall of Fame player, but he didn’t have a handle on what he was doing as Lakers President of Basketball Operations, including letting LeBron James have too much control of the front office… A quick shout out from the ‘Nado Natterings’ staff to our good friend Reverend Steve Mather of the Coronado Community Church, who is a big fan of alliterative column titles. Go Nado… My candidate for the most over-rated player in the five decade history of the San Diego Padres is Wil Myers. He is in the midst of a six-year $83 million contract, while currently carrying a stat line of a .225 batting average, 21 RBIs and 10 homers through 57 games this year. In addition, he doesn’t have a defensive position he can play adequately. Really bad, long-term signing by the Padres… My original reaction to the Padres signing Manny Machado to his $300 million, 10-year contract would have been better spent by acquiring two pitchers at $15 million each. But Machado is a great talent, who hasn’t hit his offensive stride yet in San Diego (.251 batting average, 9 homers, 27 RBIs and an On-base plus Slugging of .751 through Monday) due in large part to the fact he has no one to protect him in the batting order. The initial lift he gave the San Diego fan base has largely faded. But Machado’s grand slam homer Monday night against the Phillies may be an encouraging sign… Back to the NBA, my prognostication from last week that the Golden State Warriors would lose Game 1 due to the rust of being off for 10 days, as was the prediction they would bounce back and win Game 2, both proved to be accurate. In the last 24 hours, various basketball pundits have individually nominated DeMarcus ‘Boogie’ Cousins, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Andre Igoudala, Head Coach Steve Kerr, and the Warriors Medical Staff, all as ‘the’ reason the Warriors prevailed over Toronto in the second game of the series. Perhaps that list reflects the depth of talent the team has to call upon. But recent and past medical developments impacting the Warriors appear to have left them vulnerable. As of Tuesday morning, Thompson was officially listed as questionable to play Wednesday evening with a mild left hamstring strain; on-site reporters question whether or not star forward Kevin Durant will play at all during the series with a strained right calf; and starting center Kevon Looney, who has improved by leaps and bounds this season, sustained a non-displaced cartilage fracture on the right side of his ribcage is out for the balance of the Playoffs. Cousins, at 6-11 and 265 pounds (a better guess would be 7-0, 295) has emerged as Exhibit No. 1 that there is still a place for a big man who can play the low post in pro basketball. He played 28 minutes Sunday after essentially not playing for 45 days due to a torn quadricep muscle, and Iguodala is also banged up physically. But none of that can diminish the performance Golden State turned in Sunday night, when they amped up their game, particularly from the end of the second quarter through the first five and one-half minutes of the third, outscoring Toronto 22-0. The game from beginning to end was physical, with almost every shot contested, with the obvious exception being the three-pointer by Iguodala in the last minute that was the nail in the Raptors’ collective coffin. Curry appeared to be ill and off his game early before finishing with 23 points, Thompson left the game with hamstring tightness with eight minutes left in the game, and the Warriors still won on the road. Green was outstanding with 17 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists, two steals and a blocked shot. When he wasn’t defending Toronto’s Game 1 breakout star forward Pascal Siakam, Green guarded Kawhi Leonard. The former Aztec star Leonard was great again and scored 34 points to go with 14 rebounds. He took over the game offensively for the Raptors late in the third quarter. The theory in the NBA Playoffs is the series doesn’t officially begin until the visiting team wins a game, so it’s on now. The Warriors can survive the loss of Looney, although he is an accomplished low post defender who helped out on both Leonard and Siakam. What they can’t survive is a diminished Klay Thompson, offensively or defensively, as he is a great two-way player. As we noted last week, Durant’s presence on the floor improves Golden State’s odds to win their third straight NBA title. Unless or until another Warrior sustains a major injury, they are still the favorites in my book. But the prediction here is now, with injuries piling up, the Warriors will win in seven games, instead of six.

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