Gang, remember Friday's mailbag. We've got a couple of spots open. Let's do work.
From the "Talks too much" studios, six minutes, six minutes, six minutes Dougie Fresh and you're on. Uh-uh, on.
Merry Draft eve
We have a soft spot for the draft — some would even say we love it — but you know this.
We have discussed the shortcomings of star-power in this class. With a lack of star-power, however, comes the chance to land a surprise, a potential difference maker after the first 10 picks. And if you don't think that can happen, well, take a look at some of these NBA stud ducks:
In 2010, emerging Pacers star Paul George was picked 10th.
In 2009, Jrue Holiday was picked 17th.
In 2008, centers Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert were picked 10th and 17th respectively.
In 2007, Marc Gasol fell into round 2.
In 2006, Rajon Rondo dropped all the way to 21st.
In 2005, Andrew Bynum (10th), Danny Granger (17th) and David Lee (30th) were available later in round 1.
So, what does this tell us.
Well, we like your chances with picks 10 and 17.
Seriously, the above group of folks picked 10 and 17 would leave you a starting five of Holiday at the point, Danny Granger at the 2, George at the 3, Bynum at the 4 and the best center duo in the league with Lopez and Hibbert. That group wins 50 games easy. Compare that to the No. 1 overall picks those six years — Andrew Bogut (2005), Andrea Bargnani ('06), Greg Oden ('07), Derrick Rose ('08), Blake Griffin ('09) and John Wall ('10).
So let's see who picks 10th and 17th tomorrow... Portland and Atlanta... Well there goes that theory since Portland and Atlanta are only the two worst drafting teams since the A's left Kansas City.
So it goes.
This will be an on-going topic through the summer, but we likely need to start somewhere.
What is Jason Heyward's career arc going to be?
Will he be the left-handed Jeff Francoeur? A home-grown Atlanta guy who made a big splash early but has a fatal flaw (Pedro Cerano can identify and even thinks Jesus can't help with the curveball) in their game that is magnified by being the home-grown Atlanta guy?
Is Heyward fixable — and he crushed a hanging curveball against the Kansas City version of Jonny Venters for what proved to be the game-winning homer in a 4-3 win Tuesday? Is he a franchise guy that the Braves must hang on to or is he a piece that must be moved while there are still those out there that believe his flaw can be fixed?
Auburn, Day 3
As we discussed last week, we're going to look at some of the area's high-interest college football teams as we crawl toward the start of college football season.
We started this week with Auburn, and offered an overview Monday and a look at the Tigers' weaknesses on Tuesday (well, their major weaknesses, a thorough look at the questions in Auburn would take a while).
Today, let's examine the two biggest strengths for the Tigers.
Offensively, the Tigers are built on a firm foundation that can run the football. Tre Mason rushed for more than 1,000 yards last for an offense that had quarterback play so inept that it would have made Rainman feel sorry for the unit's awkwardness and worry about the offense when it tried to handle pressure situations. (Definitely 247, 247 toothpicks.)
Still Mason was able to find yards and the offensive line was able to create space, even with 22 defenders in the box. That's a positive. (It also helps that as much as Gus appears to be a "system" coach, he is a maestro at maximizing his pieces — the guy made Chris Todd a record-setting quarterback for crying out loud — and Mason is his best piece.)
The specialists — kicker Cody Parkey and punter Steven Clark — are as good as there is in college football. That's a really good thing, especially in regard to Clark if the Tigers do not find some answers at QB.
This and that
— So A-Rod takes to the Twitter and the Yankees GM Brian Cashman channels his inner-Steinbrenner and cusses about it during a news conference. Ah, the Yankees. Side question: If you could cover one beat as a sports writer, the Dallas Cowboys gig would be pretty high-profile and entertaining. The Yankees beat would be through the roof.
— And maybe Cashman overreacted — it's never a good idea to drop the queen mother of all cuss words into a microphone, unless you're either a) a stand-up comedian; b) a rapper; or C)-Lo. (See what we did there 9er?) — but man it's hard to be on A-Rod's side about anything. The guy is a goof. And slimy. Dude makes more than the Astros (all of them) for crying out loud and all he does is get hurt, vanish in big spots and get linked to steroid controversies. OUCH-standing.
— Speaking of the Braves earlier, it was nice to see Kris Medlen look like Kris Medlen again. After starting 1-6, Medlen's been effective by remembering that he can spot his fastball as well as almost anyone in the NL. He's not overpowering mind you, but he pitches and moves the ball directionally and in regard to pace. It's fun watching him pitch when he's grooving. Now, let's do something about that flat-bill, platypus.
— Enjoyed Downtown Patrick Brown's introduction of UT super-recruit Robert Hubbs. Yes, he would be just another cog in the ointment for the UK recruiting star-machine. (Six McDonald's All-Americans in one class? CUH-razy.) Still, Hubbs brings five-star billing to Knoxville and fills a position — shooting guard — opposite Jordan McRae that gives the Vols a legit scoring punch on the perimeter. We like The Conz a lot, but another tournament-less winter in the 865 with this group would be unacceptable.
— Congrats to UCLA for winning the college world series. And so concludes the college sports season. Side note, if the Bruins had won Monday, the college baseball season would have finished before the NHL season. That's weird, wild stuff.
— The NCAA reportedly will rule on the Oregon investigation today. Quack, quack.
As always feel free to flow freely.
Let's spin this puppy sideways today.
We need some suggestions — what's the best movie you've seen this year? Better yet, what's the best movie you have rented in the last few months?
Discuss and feel free to chime in on the Heyward stuff or the draft or the stink-a-tude/promise of the Auburn Tigers. (Did you know that one poll has Auburn as high as 23rd — and no it was not the TFP's Sports Editor's double-secret probation poll.)
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...