In the hours leading up to Thursday night’s NBA draft, many of the top prospects will be in hotel rooms watching TV analysts speculate where they’ll spend the next few years of their lives. The “experts,” like the players themselves, have little concrete information. One thing is certain: As much as the players dreamed about this day, by Thursday afternoon they just want it to end.
There is an unspoken understanding between the NBA and its casual fans: We will ignore you for most of the winter in favor of football and college basketball and pay attention come playoff time. You, in turn, must deliver exciting action. Rest your stars and beat up on the 76ers all you want in December. But the final two minutes of most playoff games better be entertaining.
The NBA has not held up its end of the bargain in 2016. Not even close. There are numbers that prove this: There have been 10 games decided by at least 30 points. The previous high for one postseason was seven such games. On one day in the opening round, three of the four games had at least 20-point margins. The average victory margin was at a record high of 14.2 before the first three games of the finals were decided by 15, 33, and 30 points.
The Mets offense, decimated by injuries, is anemic. I’m referring to this year’s team, but the same could have been said about the Mets at this point last season. A quick look at the numbers through 57 games:
The 2015 Mets, of course, became an elite offensive team late in the season, easily won the National League East, and advanced to the World Series. Can New York turn it around again this year?
Carol Hutchins has Michigan softball on the brink of another College World Series appearance. In this, her 32nd season, she became the winningest coach in NCAA history. How does she recruit in a sport typically dominated by warm weather schools? How does she mold that talent into perennial champions? Find out in my profile for Excelle Sports, a website dedicated to women’s sports.
When a team trades a star for a prospect, typically it takes longer than this to realize if the team that dealt the prospect made a mistake. Only three full seasons have passed since the trade that sent R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays and Noah Syndergaard to the Mets, yet it’s already clear the Mets have won. Projecting the future for the players involved only makes it more lopsided in favor of New York. The deal is Exhibit A in the case for Mets GM Sandy Alderson as one of the best dealers in baseball.
He came off the bench in Monday’s national championship and scored a career-high 20 points to help Villanova win the title. Phil Booth, a sophomore guard, is a Rising Star to keep an eye on next season.
While we debate whether that was the greatest championship game of all time (it probably was), let’s also ask: Was Villanova’s run through the NCAA Tournament the most impressive of the modern era?