Need some quick odds on the week’s biggest storylines? (“Need” might be an overstatement; kind of want?) You’ve come to the right place. Let’s run through the newsworthiest happenings and transpirings from the world of sports, entertainment, and politics from the last seven days.
Mexico City for Cinco de Mayo: 7/3
On Celebrity Lip Sync Battle: 3/1
On Dancing With the Stars: 9/2
An on-ice practice with the Boston Bruins: 9/1
As a flight attendant on a United flight: 50/1
While being honored at the White House for the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory, Rob Gronkowski wandered off from the group (presumably while being escorted?) and caused a bit of a ruckus after interrupting a press briefing with Sean Spicer.
Now, it’s no secret Gronk likes to show off his goofy personality while stirring up controversy (see dancing on bars, Wrestlemania, European soccer games, etc), so what random places could we see him pop up next? Cinco de Mayo seems obvious; as we all know, Gronk likes to party. Celebrity Lip Sync Battle also seems right up his alley. And we can’t rule out DWTS. He’s considered going on that show for a few years now and obviously has a lot of confidence in his dance moves.
Gronk has also shown interest in other sports, like soccer. Earlier this year he visited FC Barcelona and met with Lionel Messi. So I’d say strapping on a pair of skates and practicing with the Boston Bruins isn’t out of the question. United Airlines also has to find a solution to their PR nightmare. Bringing in a Super Bowl champ as part of the crew for a flight would be a welcome distraction. But bringing in a monstrous, imposing human like Gronk might not be the best choice.
Myles Garrett, Texas A&M: 1.5
Solomon Thomas, Stanford: 3.5
Jamal Adams, LSU: 4.5
Jonathan Allen, Alabama: 5.5
Leonard Fournette, LSU: 7.5
There’s no uncertainty about who’s the best player in this draft (Myles Garrett). There’s only a modicum of uncertainty about whether he’ll go first overall because it’s the Browns on the clock.
The next few picks are very much up in the air. The 49ers hold the second selection, and while they are in need of improvement at basically every position, Thomas is the best fit. He can play on all downs and is effective at rushing the passer. Plus, he went to school just down the road.
As for Chicago (3rd overall), they have a lot of needs on defense. Getting a top tier safety in Jamal Adams is a good place to start. This class is loaded with safety talent, but Adams is the consensus number one.
Leonard Fournette should be the first RB off the board now that Dalvin Cook’s stock has taken a hit. After watching Ezekiel Elliott bust out as a rookie, backs are seeing their value rise compared to recent years. The LSU product would be a great fit in Jacksonville (4th overall) and Carolina (8th overall).
Allen is an interesting case. Based purely on performance on the playing field, he’s a top-three talent. But injury concerns and sub-par Combine results have his value fluctuating wildly from team to team. He could easily be a top-five pick. He could just as easily fall out of the top ten.
Allonzo Trier, Arizona: 7/2
Bonzie Colson, Notre Dame: 4/1
Miles Bridges, Michigan State: 5/1
Grayson Allen, Duke: 6/1
Michael Porter Jr., Missouri: 15/1
Although it’s way too early to discuss, some experts are predicting a Duke vs. Michigan State final in next year’s championship game. Why? Because both will see key players return to campus instead of entering the NBA draft. For Duke, it’s lightning rod Grayson Allen, who was the preseason Player of the Year in 2016 before his play tripped up, so to speak. For Michigan State, it’s freak athlete Miles Bridges, who will be joined by a host of other returnees like Nick Ward. If those two teams have the successful seasons everyone is expecting, chances are the Allen and Bridges will be the catalysts, which will put their names near the top of the list for the Wooden Award.
Allonzo Trier could be Allen and Bridges’ biggest competition. Trier was named MVP of the Pac-12 tournament this past season, and will be Arizona’s go-to guy with Lauri Markkanen entering the NBA draft.
Bonzie Colson will also be in the mix after a spectacular 2016-17 season that earned him First-Team All-ACC and Third-Team All-American honors.
But we can’t forget about the newest possible superstar: Michael Porter Jr. The top ranked recruit in the 2017 class decommitted from Washington and signed with Missouri. His odds are comparatively long, not because he’s any less talented than the others, but because the award always goes to a player from a good team. Missouri is awful. But basketball is in his blood, as his mom netted 1,335 points over her four-year college career, and if he can somehow lead the Tigers back to the dance, some hardware may be waiting.
Markelle Fultz, Washington: 1.5
Josh Jackson, Kansas: 2.5
Lonzo Ball, UCLA: 2.5
Jayson Tatum, Duke: 4.5
Malik Monk, Kentucky: 6.5
Lauri Markkanen, Arizona: 9.5
Zack Collins, Gonzaga: 10.5
Prior to the draft order being set, Markelle Fultz is the consensus first-overall selection. After that, it’s a toss up between Josh Jackson and Lonzo Ball. A lot of NBA teams are lacking an athletic wing, and Jackson fits that mold. He’s also a better defender than Ball. But Lonzo has the potential to revitalize a franchise thanks to both his sheer talent and vision, and his unselfish leadership qualities.
Jayson Tatum has been ranked anywhere from fourth to sixth in mock drafts, and is said to have a lot of the same qualities as Carmelo Anthony. If he ends up being able to score like Melo in the pros, he’d be a steal even at number four.
Meantime, Malik Monk made a huge impact in the NCAA thanks to some phenomenal single-game performances. But he was also inconsistent and it’s not clear how his game will translate to the NBA. Hitting contested jumpers is a lot easier when the guy contesting it is a middling SEC player, not an oversized NBA two-guard.
It’s been rumored that Markkanen will be snapped up by the Mavericks in hopes the big Finn can learn from Dirk Nowitzki (which player wouldn’t want that?) and hopefully turn into the Mavs’ next dominant Euro. Meanwhile, Zach Collins worked his way into the lottery discussion thanks to a few breakout games in the tourney for the Zags.
… by the end of the 2017 season: 75/1
… by the beginning of the 2018 season: 9/1
… by the end of the 2018 season: 1/2
… never (retires instead): 5/1
If you think things couldn’t get any worse for Tiger Woods, you’re wrong. Earlier this week it was announced Woods underwent his fourth back surgery to alleviate ongoing pain. There is no timetable on a possible return, so it raises the question, will Tiger play pro golf again? I think he’ll try, but do so unsuccessfully. If he realizes that he can have a healthier life if he doesn’t play, an official retirement could soon follow. But don’t expect that anytime soon, or ever, as Woods’ is as stubborn as they get and hates to admit defeat.
Photo credit: Obama White House (flickr) [https://www.usa.gov/government-works]
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