Your guys rocked it Wednesday, especially since the 5-at-10 was tending to some stuff away from the TFP. And gang, we have one open spot for Friday's mailbag and the contest deadline is today. We're still dealing with a lot of stuff.
From the "Talks Too Much" Studios, here we go...
We love the draft. You know this.
We'll post the entries in the draft contest after lunch.
This week we've discussed a slew of aspects from the draft from John Stockton to the Hawks drafting futility to the five guys that we think will be the best pros in this draft (A-Davis, Beal, MKG, Doc's boy and Jeremy Lamb).
Let's make a few predictions about tonight that go beyond the obvious that A-Davis is the most certain No. 1 since Tim Duncan:
1) Tonight is going to be a great commercial for the Kentucky basketball program and Coach Calipari. The same can't be said for UNC, which will have as many first-round picks but fell short in the tournament. (Side question: Does anyone else feel cheated that we did not get a UNC-UK showdown in the NCAA title game? Yeah, we do too.).
2) Dwight Howard will be the biggest name in a night loaded with trades. LeBron's "Decision" did a few things beyond making him a pariah for 18 months. It also showed teams that getting 75 cents on the dollar is better than getting nothing when stars leave as free agents.
3) There will be at least one future All-Star drafted outside the lottery, and the front runner is Jared Sullinger, who has had his draft stock tumble because of injury concerns.
4) Anthony Davis is going to be drafted first. Yes, we know we covered this already, but we needed to toss out this stat from our man RJ Bell of pregame.com: If you want to bet on Davis being the No. 1 pick you have to wager 9,800 bucks to win $100. Those odds are smaller than the space between the Uniblocker's eye brows.
5) There are going to be no shortages of conspiracy stories tonight involving the league-owened New Orleans Hornets, who won the lottery and have the first pick and the 10th pick. The Hornets will add Davis and could add Austin Rivers, a duo that was ranked as the top players coming out of high school last year. Going back to 2003 when LeBron was the No. 1 overall pick coming out of high school, here's a look at the top-ranked prep players in the country according to Rivals.com:
2011 — Austin Rivers, Anthony Davis
2010 — Josh Selby, Harrison Barnes (Kyrie Irving was No. 4)
2009 — John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins
2008 — BJ Mullens, Jrue Holiday
2007 — Michael Beasley, Derrick Rose
2006 — Greg Oden, Kevin Durant
2005 — Gerald Green, Andrew Bynum
2004 — Dwight Howard, Shaun Livingston
2003 — LeBron James, Luol Deng
Other than 2008, what GM would not seriously consider selling one of his kids to land those two names in any draft?
Back-to-back for the Braves
The Braves have won two in a row to start their longest homestand of the season. This makes us smile.
No we're not a flag-waving Johnny Braves Fan, we just know that summers in the South are more fun when the Braves are in the mix. It's just that simple and it gives Southern guys a guaranteed fall-back topic with other Southern guys.
In fact, the three main pitches for summer discussions between acquaintances are the heat, the Braves and college football is around the corner. If the Braves stink, it's just the heat and how long until kickoff.
So keep battling Bravos, we want you on that ball we need you on that ball.
As for the team, two quick observations:
1) Jason Heyward is slap slapping the baseball. He was the player of the week last week and is got to be among the front runners for players of the month. With his homer last night, Heyward is hitting .395 this month with six homers. We talked about his importance to this lineup as the difference maker — the guy that swings the order from pretty good to pretty great when he's hitting — and the Braves are 5-2 in their last seven games. During that stretch, Heyward is 14-for-26 and has raised his average 30 points to .282. Well-played indeed.
2) Craig Kimbrel is money. Cold, hard, cash money. Dude has not allowed a run since May 4 and in nine innings in June he has fanned 17 and allowed two hits. He's the best in the business and it's not all that close.
The good folks at Rivals.com surveyed more than 80 of the top rising high school football seniors, and the results were very interesting.
The survey is far from scientific of course but the results — which were easier to gather by naturally offering the players anonymity — were in some cases shocking and in others exactly what you'd expect. The complete survey is here http://footballrecruiting.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1379643 and here were some of the highlights:
Most intimidating coach: Nick Saban (30 votes), Lane Kiffin (5), Will Muschamp (4)
Easiest to talk to: Gene Chizik (8 votes), Mack Brown (6), Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian (5)
Most persuasive: Chizik, Kiffin and James Franklin (tied with 4 votes) (Side note: There were 23 coaches mentioned as an answer here.)
Best game-day atmosphere: USC (10 votes), Texas (9), Alabama (8)
There are seven more questions on there. Interesting stuff, no? And was anyone surprised that Saban would be the most intimidating?
This and that
— OK, all the regulars know this is a family-oriented, interweb-based (F-O-I-B) sports column. Occasionally we mix in some pop culture to add some spice. Today will be one of those days. Quincy Jones called out P-Diddy's talents and said the current music mogul "wouldn't know a B-flat" if it hit him. Well, if it hit P-Diddy in the wallet he may never know it, since it's stuffed with half a billion — yes, billion with a 'B' — bucks from his success.
— Did you see the story that Kenny Rogers sold his Georgia lakefront estate before it went to auction? We'll avoid the knowing when to hold 'em and fold 'em jokes out of respect to "The Gambler." Dude sold more than 50 million records after all. (But, at the closing, we bet you could have heard a pin drop when Kenny stopped and locked the door.)
— The Giants just swept the Dodgers with three consecutive shutouts.
— More draft stuff: This draft is so loaded, it's hard to remember a time when so few foreign players were being discussed.
— Programming note: We'll be on with Chris Goforth at 2 p.m. today
We've discussed the drama that has been the Olympic trials. It's been gripping.
Above and beyond the rest, how great is the duel between Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps in the US swimming trials?
And who's with us on team Lochte?
If that doesn't float your boat, we heard an interesting question on Mike and Mike this morning. They were discussing the value of a championship to a player's career and resume. They asked whether a sure-fire Hall of Famer like Charles Barkley who never won a title would trade his career for that of a Robert Horry, someone who was a important cog on teams that won several titles?
Discuss, and remember about the mailbag and the draft contest (send us who you think will be the second pick/the number of SEC players in round one/who the Hawks draft first/who has the "most impactful" suit).
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 ...