NBA Draft 2017: Jay Bilas says John Calipari ‘recruits,’ doesn’t ‘produce’ top 10 picks

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Jay Bilas wants you to know that John Calipari is a great recruiter, but not necessarily a great teacher.

Bilas appeared to take a swipe at the Kentucky coach after the Kings drafted UK guard De’Aaron Fox with the fifth overall pick Thursday. ESPN draft host Rece Davis said Calipari had produced another top 10 pick with Fox. Bilas responded that Calipari didn’t produce those player but just recruited them.

Calipari has been highly successful at collecting one-and-done talent at Kentucky, which leads critics to question how much coaching and instructing he can do with prospects.

Jarvis Jenkins Jersey If Bilas wasn’t thowing shade, maybe he was acknowledging this reality:

Big thanks to Jay Bilas for clarifying that college coaches do not produce these lotto picks. They are lotto picks before college!

I knew I was going to play in the D-League a little bit, Jones said, when asked about his thought process when he declared for the NBA Draft. He said that he knew he’d spend time in the D-League even after signing with the Suns.

It was probably one of the best feelings of my life, honestly, because being down in the D-League, it was a great experience for me, being a young player, 19-year-old coming out of college after my first year.

Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert are out. Taking their place are … Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley? Uh, OK. To be fair, the 49ers were openly courting Kirk Cousins all offseason, but a trade with Washington never came close to happening.

The Cowboys don’t need to worry about that.

The whole offseason in Dallas will be re-living what the team could have done better to flip that final score. There also will be speculation about whether the heartbreaking finish will linger with Prescott for a sophomore slump.

The Cowboys don’t need to worry about that. Just like they didn’t panic and bring in a gunslinging Tony Romo to erase a big early deficit. Or deviate from the game plan of running heavily with Ezekiel Elliott to keep the pressure off Prescott in the passing game.

They also didn’t see Prescott wilt after he threw a bad, red-zone interception down 28-13 in the middle of the third quarter, when it looked like they were headed to more certain defeat. After Rodgers reminded everyone he’s still human by being picked off, too, Prescott wasted no time in reminding Dallas of his resolve.

We wish you to stay on the field for many years with no injuries, to hold Lombardi Trophy in your hands couple of times more, and to put on a gold jacket in can’ton afterwards. We wish you all the best, be happy and let love, peace and harmony live at your home.

If it is not difficult, could you please tell your teammates that when they take the CenturyLink Field or any other field, they are supported not only by those who came to the stadium, we are also with you – watching games live on the Internet. And we are also shouting, but that is more like whisper-shout because when you play on Sunday evening, it is already the middle of working Monday in the east of Russia, and 3 a.m. in the West a€“ so we just don’t want to wake our families up shouting too loud.

Thank you and all the guys for giving us so much joy and hope.

They don’t make that move without zeroing in on Fultz

No chance on this one. The Sixers moved up to the top pick with Markelle Fultz in mind, and Fultz remains their guy.

Scout: They don’t make that move without zeroing in on Fultz. I think they want to see how Ben Simmons operates with the ball in his hands, and they can have multiple ballhandlers and playmakers out on the floor at once. But they want a scorer at the point.

Allen Robinson Limited Jersey I’m not dissing the NBA because I’m a former NFL exec. Basketball, in fact, was my favorite sport growing up. But I hate the NBA system that destroys competitive balance, which should be the backbone of any league. I like watching ultra-talented players like Durant and Curry play, but I don’t want to see this rigging of teams, which is easier to do in the NBA with smaller rosters.

Can you imagine a last-seeded team in the conference winning an NBA title, as the Steelers and Packers have done in winning Super Bowls as bottom seeds over the last 12 NFL seasons? No way that’s happening against a team as stacked as the Warriors.

The Hawks need the former. If he’s that type of player, other free agents will want to join him. Remain the turnover-happy floor general with off-court issues, and Atlanta will continue to languish and finish in the middle or lower tier of the East.

Rod Gilbert Limited Jersey Meanwhile, your new team has never been to the finals. Well, we could count those two trips when the franchise was in St. Louis. After all, the team did give 11-time champion Bill Russell one his few losses, and Bob Petit is one the all-time greats we don’t discuss nearly enough. Either way, the Hawks haven’t been to the promised land since they arrived in Atlanta in 1966.

Now, you’re tasked with finding a way to take a team past its greatest success in 2015, which ended in an embarrassing sweep to that neighborhood bully known as James and his band of Cavs. There’s only one starter left from that team in Paul Millsap, and he’s not under contract after opting declining his player option and taking the road to free agency.

Rashad McCants plans to wear ZO2s in Ice Cube’s 3-on-3 league

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Rashad McCants will wear ZO2s — Lonzo Ball’s signature shoe from his family’s Big Baller Brand — during games in the inaugural season of Ice Cube’s BIG3 League.

If the shoes are ready, that is.

THE DETAILS: Paul, 32, is a nine-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA first-team selection but is also a 12-year veteran with a shrinking prime window. All that’s missing is an NBA title. He couldn’t get a ring in six seasons with the Clippers but sees potential through Gregg Popovich in San Antonio. Paul is expected to decline his $24.2 million player option for next season in order to test free agency.

THIS PAST SEASON: Paul averaged 18.1 points, 9.2 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.9 steals in 61 games. He missed time due to a torn ligament in his left thumb and was left off the All-Star roster for the first time since 2006-07.

OUR TAKE: The destination for Paul all comes down to what he cherishes more: A legitimate shot at an NBA championship or a max deal worth about $205 million with the Clippers. With Tony Parker facing a career-changing ruptured quadriceps at age 35 and Manu Ginobili likely playing his final game, the Spurs will be in need of a floor general alongside Kawhi Leonard.
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Of course, a championship or a Western Conference title isn’t guaranteed with the Warriors still likely at full strength next season. The Spurs’ possible new Big Three of Paul, Leonard, and LaMarcus Aldridge would be better than the Clippers’ options but it would have to come with a big pay cut for Paul. San Antonio doesn’t have the salary cap flexibility unless it trades Pau Gasol and lets Patty Mills and Jonathon Simmons walk. The Spurs may be better off re-signing that duo and bringing in a stopgap point guard for Parker than adding another max contract to their payroll.

Aaron Rodgers, more valuable than ever for Packers

The 2016-’17 season won’t go down as Aaron Rodgers’ most stellar in the NFL, only because of his own ridiculously high standards. He has had better passing numbers and more eye-popping, jaw-dropping play. But he’s never been this important and most valuable to the Packers.

Rodgers came through on his quasi-guarantee that the Packers would run the table, winning their final six games and making the playoffs as NFC North champions once again. The capper was Sunday night’s 300-yard, 4-TD performance in Green Bay’s 31-24 division-clinching win in Detroit.

Since the fun began on a Monday night in Philadelphia in Week 12, that’s 15 TD passes to 0 INTs to go with 6-0. Rodgers’ final numbers were very familiar and league MVP-like: 40 TDs and 4,428 yards with only 7 INTs, none since Week 10.

It might seem a safe bet that ratings will decline for Super Bowl 51. The Falcons are not among the NFL’s glamour teams, and there can be no doubt Fox would have preferred the Packers or Cowboys instead. The NFL’s seasonlong ratings slump, after easing during the second half of the season, resumed during the playoffs with eight of 10 windows declining. Contrary to the perception of exponential growth, Super Bowl ratings have already declined in two of the past four years.

Bell, with 167 and 170 yards in his first two career playoff chances, carries a higher per-game average than anyone in the Super Bowl era. He’s also averaging 5.7 per carry, ranking fifth all-time for a single playoff.

So far, Bell hasn’t needed to be a big weapon in the passing game, but he can explode there whenever needed. It might happen against the Patriots… again.


Packers WR Geronimo Allison faces marijuana charge

The Packers could be facing a bit of a distraction this week as they prepare to take on the Cowboys in Sunday’s NFC divisional playoff game.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel uncovered a court report that revealed Packers receiver Geronimo Allison was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana last month after a traffic stop and subsequent arrest in early September.

Jaden Schwartz Elite Jersey Allison, an undrafted rookie from Illinois, was officially charged Dec. 15 by the Manitowoc (Wis.) County district attorney’s office.

Bennett had been to the playoffs just once prior to this season. A second-round pick of the Cowboys in 2008, Bennett played in the postseason in 2009, when the Cowboys went 11-5 and won the NFC East. Dallas beat the Eagles in the wild-card round, but were thumped by the Vikings in the divisional round.
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The nine-year veteran joined the Giants in 2012 and was with the Bears for three straight losing seasons prior to joining the Patriots.

His eyes were opened from the first day he arrived in Foxborough.

Everyone here believes, said Bennett, who caught 55 passes for 701 yards and seven touchdowns this season. There wasn’t a non-believer in this room at any time about going to the Super Bowl or what our goal was from the moment I got here in March or April. That rubs off on you.

Iron sharpens iron and attitude is contagious. A winning attitude is contagious. I definitely got infected since I’ve been here. I’ve got the winning disease right now and I’m enjoying this one. I don’t need the antidote.

Yankees’ Aaron Judge clubs longest home run of 2017

Seems every day now brings another amazing feat from Aaron Judge.

Sunday, the Yankees slugger took things to another level — literally, hitting a home run 495 feet into the top of the left-field seats in Yankee Stadium. It’s the longest homer of 2017.

Judge’s home run off Logan Verrett was his MLB-leading 20th of the season. And for an encore, Judge hit home run No. 21 in his next at-bat. That left him 4-for-4, with four runs and three RBIs in the game, with the Yankees up 14-3 after seven innings.

Mark Herzlich Mens Jersey The rookie’s big game comes just one day after he blasted the hardest-hit home run of the Statcast era, a 121.1 mph shot off Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman.

I enjoy it. I love it, Jordon says. That’s the time, toward the middle and end of middle school, that you’re really trying to figure out who you are. You’ve got to be open to other things, and don’t live your life based on somebody else’s.

They look at me and they think, basketball or football. But my story is that I’m a baseball guy. So when they see that, they’re like, ‘Whoa, how is this possible?’ And I have to tell them that I found what I love to do, and now it’s time for you guys to find it.

Jordon is very aware of his audience at Newburg. He loves the responsibility of being a role model for these kids because he recognizes he was in their shoes only a few years ago.

Jacoby Brissett Mens Jersey I hope this kid named Mike Trout gets drafted. And then he does, and to see what has happened is part of the movie called MLB Network. I’m sorry, but the TV gods and the baseball gods got together and blessed the network and Trout. It’s a unique relationship. Our network is still extremely close with the Trout family. They’re wonderful people, and he’s by far the best player in baseball. The fact that he had the courage to come and begin his professional baseball career and sit there and wait until whatever pick it was, 25, 23 or 24 and to sit there and wait and wait and wait and be the only kid there? This isn’t the NFL Draft, there aren’t a bunch of kids sitting there. No. He was the only one, and that courage, I’m telling you, I’ll tell people, I’ll tell my grandchildren, about how Mike Trout’s professional baseball career started before my eyes.

Bears QB Mike Glennon not worried about future: ‘This year is my year’

Mike Glennon has just one thing on his mind this season: winning football games.

After signing a three-year deal worth $45 million (with $18.5 million guaranteed) this offseason, Glennon was expected to be Chicago’s quarterback of the present and possibly future.

But that all changed in April when the Bears traded up to select former North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick.

Mariota was expected to miss four to five months after undergoing surgery Dec. 28 to repair the broken right fibula he suffered in the team’s Week 16 loss to the Jaguars. Since he’s still completing his recovery, Titans coach Mike Mularkey isn’t rushing to push Mariota too far too fast.

I know he’d like to do more, he looks like he can do more, but it’s May, Mularkey said. We’ve got lots of time.
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Mariota, 23, threw for 3,426 yards and 26 touchdowns with nine interceptions last year in his second NFL season before getting hurt. He added two more scores on the ground and completed 61.2 percent of his passes.

Don’t be fooled by the Eagles’ middle-of-pack sack total of 34 last season. They were effective in finding their early pass-rush groove under defensive coordinator and four-man front guru Jim Schwartz. End Brandon Graham and tackle Fletcher Cox responded well to the change in scheme, but it was clear they needed help to get more liberal paths to the quarterback. Enter end Chris Long and his high energy, as well as tackle Timmy Jernigan and his attack mentality.

Youth Ben Heeney Jersey Schwartz will insert Barnett into downs and situations that maximize his massive, pure pass-rush skills first before playing consistently ahead of those veterans. The Eagles got Barnett because he produces, and the 20-year-old will be in the ideal spot as he works to round out his game.

How the NFL franchise tag works

The heart of NFL free agency starts March 7, when teams can begin meeting and negotiating with representatives of free agents. But it really begins, in earnest, Feb. 15, when the window opens for teams to use franchise or transitional tags.

Top 2017 NFL free agents, including Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell and linebackers Dont’a Hightower (Patriots), Melvin Ingram (Chargers) and Chandler Jones (Cardinals), could be candidates for their teams’ respective franchise tags. Chiefs safety Eric Berry was franchise-tagged in 2016, and he recently said he won’t play if the same thing happens to him in 2017.

This attempt at public explanation of a yay-or-nay vote in this Hall is unprecedented. Every other snub, going back decades, has been shrouded in mystery, not because the voters have never been asked to justify their vote, but because they’ve never been so aggressive in giving it.

Ken Stabler, Cris Carter, Michael Irvin, Art Monk, Jerry Kramer — everybody knows the names on the historic wait list, but who has ever been explicit about saying, “You wanna know why? I’ll tell you why, in more detail than you ever dreamed.”

A drops chart. That’s breaking new ground.

Transparency is never a bad thing; it’s the ideal, in fact. But be careful what you wish for.

Once you truly go on the record and say, “Here is exactly, specifically, why the guy with the second-most receiving yards in NFL history and the third-most touchdown catches, the guy who played in the Super Bowl on a broken leg, got two straight thumbs-down” … you cannot turn around in a year, or two, or five, and say, “OK, he’s not a bad teammate anymore.”avalanche-025_8a427f9aa0d6a8ce-180x180

Bernie Custis, first black pro football quarterback, dies at age 88

Authentic Joe Girardi Jersey Bernie Custis, the first black quarterback in pro football’s modern era, died Thursday at age 88.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the team with which he made history when he started a Canadian Football League game on Aug. 29, 1951, announced his passing on Twitter.

The injuries limited Gronkowski to 25 receptions for 540 yards and three TDs, career lows in all three categories.

I still love playing the game, Gronkowski said, and, as of right now, I want to play as long as I can possibly play. My mindset is to keep on going.

This was his third surgery on his back alone (one came while he was at the University of Arizona) and left him as a spectator as Tom Brady led the Patriots to a Super Bowl victory.

Authentic Jeremy Zuttah Jersey Still, Gronkowski savored the moment in Houston when commissioner Roger Goodell presented Brady with the Lombardi Trophy in the wake of his four-game Deflategate suspension to open the season.

It was great to see him hand over that trophy, for sure, Gronkowski said of Goodell. I was super happy for Tom.

Nose tackles are always valued highly by NFL teams because there simply aren’t enough defensive tackles capable (and big enough) to play the position. Brown was arguably Louisville’s most important defender this year, and his capability as a nose tackle should make him a strong choice to be a drafted.

His Combine testing numbers shouldn’t matter much, outside of his explosive testing and bench reps. Louisville will see good NFL team representation at his Pro Day to make up for it.