Welcome to our weekly exercise in variety. You’ve seen these before – a columnist puts down thoughts on a couple of various sports topics or items that roughly have something to do with sports. This is our version.
So the Pelicans didn’t win the lottery.
Not a big deal.
In fact, you could argue the Pelicans are sitting pretty. A top three pick would have been nice but No. 6 certainly will do in a draft where there may not be many stars but there will be plenty of players who can help a team.
New Orleans is in a position where it still has to draft for need. They’re serviceable and young at most positions but can use players at all but the power forward position, where Anthony Davis will dominate for years to come.
Coach Monty Williams knows this.
“We’re trying to fill those needs as opposed to taking just the best talent,” he recently said. “Now, if the need is gone, then you take the best player. I think it’s a little bit different from last year.”
They’re weak at small forward with Al-Farouq Aminu and could use an upgrade at center where Robin Lopez currently plies his trade. In spite of the vast improvement Greivis Vasquez made this past season, point guard could be upgraded, too, to cover the defensive shortcomings at the position.
And we won’t even get into the train wreck that is the issue at shooting guard.
The good news is there should be a player there the Pelicans will like and can use.
Georgetown small forward Otto Porter could still be there. So, too, could Michigan’s point guard Trey Burke, the national player of the year in 2012-13. It’s possible shooting guard Victor Oladipo from Indiana could fall their way. Indiana center Cody Zeller, who at one point was thought to be a top three pick, could remain available at No. 6. There are more who will be there, too.
The point is No. 6 isn’t a bad place to be.
Just ask Portland. While the 2013 draft class is wildly different than the 2012 class, the Trail Blazers sat in the same position as New Orleans a year ago.
He led rookies in scoring at 19 points per game, 6.5 assists per game and 38.6 minutes per game.
The Pelicans can find their Lillard at the same position this year.
And that’s a fact.
Sergio Garcia doesn’t get “it”
Sergio Garcia just can’t get out of his own way.
This time, the 33-year-old used words to screw up instead of actions.
The underachieving Spanish golfer answered a light-hearted question with a racist reply, setting off a full morning of ESPN SportsCenter breaking down his “apology.”
The back story: Garcia took umbrage to fans cheering for Tiger Woods while he was about to hit a shot during The Players Championship. The two were playing partners on this particular day.
Tuesday, when asked if he would have Woods over for dinner, Garcia responded, “We’ll have him round every night. We will serve fried chicken.”
Wednesday he was in full back track mode, saying, “I want to send an unreserved apology. I did not want to offend anyone. My answer was totally stupid and out of place.”
He later added, “It was a funny question and I wanted it to be a funny answer in reply. I started to get a sick feeling straight after the dinner and I felt so bad I thought my heart was going to come out of my body. I felt bad about it all day.”
But that’s too little, too late and, honestly, it comes off as remarkably reckless.
Garcia was trying to be funny, but instead of being witty and smart, went with the lowest common denominator. It didn’t work and it won’t ever work.
Woods was hit with another “fried chicken” remark in 1997 when was Fuzzy Zoeller did it.
Garcia, though 17 at the time, should have learned from that misstep by Zoeller.
Instead, he perpetuated a terrible stereotype that needs to go away. It’s a sad state when in 2013 this is still an issue.
Yet, the truly sad thing is that Garcia likely won’t face any repercussions from this, either on the tour or by his sponsors. It’ll blow over and be forgotten.
That doesn’t make it right and at some point, we as a society must say enough already.
Clippers letting children run daycare, fire Del Negro
Vinny Del Negro led the Los Angeles Clippers to the best two seasons in franchise history, including their first division title this year.
He was fired earlier this week after getting a vote of no confidence from Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
In other words, it’s official, the kids are running the daycare.
Del Negro’s .557 winning percentage is best in franchise history and his 128 wins are third-most
He got the Clippers to the postseason twice in three years, or 22 percent of the franchise’s appearances – ever.
But because Paul and Griffin like him as a person but not as a coach, according to the Los Angeles Times, he’s out.
Here’s a novel idea CP3 and BG32 – how about you take ownership of the failures on the floor in the postseason yourselves? While Del Negro made the decisions on who to play when and what plays to run, it’s the players on the court who failed the most the past two postseasons.
In this world of players getting everything they want, there’s little responsibility taken for what actually happens.
Don’t like your team? Demand a trade. Want more money? Hold out even though you have a contract. Your coach isn’t paying enough attention to your tantrums? Get him fired.
Del Negro might not be the greatest coach but he didn’t deserve to go out after the best season in franchise history.
Et cetera: The Team Gleason Kickbowl
This isn’t so much an opinion as it is a clarion call for fun and charity.
It’s summer kickball season and what better way to have fun and help than by playing in the Team Gleason Kickbowl.
This event has it all.
- The 610 Stompers fielding a team and performing.
- A Garrett Hartley-donated autographed football and kicking shoe.
- A Gleason/kickball event T-shirt.
- The cover band Yeah You Right playing at the after party.
- And money that will go towards the Team Gleason Foundation to fight amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.
Registration is $30 per person and the tournament is June 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
To register, click this link for the WAKA Kickball website’s charity page.