Jan 9, 2019; Tempe, AZ, USA; The Arizona Cardinals introduce their new head coach Kliff Kingsbury during a press conference at the Cardinals Training Facility. Kingsbury is a former Texas Tech head coach and was the recently hired USC offensive coordinator. Rob Schumacher/The Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK

We’re in the endgame now across several sports…


NFL Draft Notes and Thoughts

Cardinals are on the clock

Arizona Cardinals are widely expected to draft Kyler Murray, which I believe would be a huge mistake.

  1. The combination of Nick Bosa and Josh Rosen, at QB, is greater than just having Kyler Murray
  2. They hired a college coach with a career losing record, but an offensive background. A guy like that gets hired to fix a guy like Rosen, and add defensive playmakers (ie Bosa or Williams), something he lacked in college
  3. Josh Rosen is extremely salvagable. He sucked in 2018. There’s no denying that, but you know what else sucked? His coaching staff and mostly his supporting cast. He was never put in a position to succeed. His situation is comparable to Mitchell Trubisky and Jared Goff, who both had brutal rookie seasons under older defensive-minded head coaches (like Steve Wilks in Arizona) and led their respective teams to division titles in 2018.
  4. Dwayne Haskins is going to be better than Kyler Murray. This is obviously the most controversial argument against drafting Murray #1, but I have long believed Haskins will be the best QB in this class and if I was running a team in need of a QB, I would take Haskins over anyone. But if I was running a team who was not in need of a QB (like the Cardinals), I would take Nick Bosa.

Boomer Sooner

Kyler Murray will be the third Oklahoma Sooners QB drafted #1 since 2010 (Sam Bradford 2010, Baker Mayfield 2018). All three QBs won the Heisman Trophy and all three had a chance to win a National Championship and saw their opportunity ruined by an SEC team (Bradford ’08 team lost BCS Championship to Florida; Mayfield ’17 team lost Rose Bowl/CFB Playoff Semis to Georgia; Murray ’18 team lost Orange Bowl/CFB Playoff Semis to Alabama)

Big Ten

Dwayne Haskins, who played college ball at Ohio State, will be the first QB from the Big Ten drafted in the first round since 1995! (Kerry Collins, Penn State)

NBA Playoffs

These playoffs stink

Outside of Nuggets/Spurs, a series I’m quite frankly not that interested in, this entire first round has been very blah.

I am not a hockey person. Very much, not a hockey person. But I’ll take the NHL playoffs over the NBA playoffs.

For comparison:

  • NHL 1 seeds went a combined 1-8
  • NBA seeds 5-8 in the East went a combined 2-16

Give me the parity over the predictable.

  • NHL had 3 series go to game 7
  • NBA has 2 series go to game 6

Give me the drama.

OKC Thunder

Speaking of the drama…

After being eliminated in 5 games by Damian Lillard, I mean by the Blazers, the Thunder should at least consider trading Russell Westbrook.

There’s no denying the greatness of Russell Westbrook, who has averaged a triple double for three consecutive regular seasons. There’s also no denying that since Kevin Durant left in 2016, the Thunder have lost three consecutive first round series, going 4-12 in the playoffs. That can’t possibly all be Westbrook’s fault, but he shouldn’t be blameless either. So what do you do? Fire Billy Donovan? Is that going to solve the Thunder problems? I would at least see what you can get for Westbrook He’s 30 years old and due to make $38m, $41m, $44m million over each of the next three seasons – all guaranteed. Something big has to change in OKC for them to get to the next level.

I wouldn’t trade Westbrook for a nothing package (like Lonzo/Ingram/Kuzma). Maybe something with the Celtics where you get Kyrie or Hayward with Tatum or Brown. Would the Wizards shake things up and trade Bradley Beal?

Participation trophies mean something

The 2019 season did not end the way the Nets or Magic had hoped. But that doesn’t mean this season wasn’t a huge success and in my opinion these two teams are among the biggest winners of this NBA season.

Nets – after making one of the worst trades in NBA history, they returned to the playoffs after a 3 year drought (half the time of the Lakers and Knicks). They lost to Philly in 5, which shows they still have a long way to go, but for a team with no lottery picks the last few years, they found a way to build a playoff team with Caris LaVert, D’angelo Russell and superstar Jared Dudley. With a young roster, cap space, and a new culture and foundation, the Nets are a team with staying power in the East.

Magic – Orlando made the playoffs for the first time since they traded Dwight Howard. In fact, they won a playoff game before the Lakers did, the team they traded Howard to. Like the Nets, the season ended in 5 to the Raptors and there’s no shame in that. Orlando took major strides and Steve Clifford proved that he can coach as well as anyone in the league and guys like Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier got valuable playoff experience that will only help them in the future.

NBA Lottery

LA Lakers

LA is searching for a new head coach and are interviewing Monty Williams, Ty Lue, Juwan Howard and Jason Kidd so far. Kidd has proven to be a controversial choice as a head coach and for a team as spotlighted as the Lakers, they should avoid Kidd. Howard would be a good choice for any other team. He’s another Luke Walton – former player, career assistant since retirement, looking for his first job and this would be a terrible first job to take. Williams and Lue both make sense due to the past as head coaches and familiarity with Lebron James.

Phoenix Suns

Monty Williams is also a candidate for the newly vacated Suns job. What is going on in the desert. First, the Cardinals fired Steve Wilks after one year. Now, the Suns fired Igor Kokoskov after one year. I know the Suns were terrible in 2019 but is that really all his fault? Devin Booker, at 22 years old, will enter next season playing for his 5th different head coach. Can someone please salvage his career and get him out of Phoenix asap?

Detroit sports

This category just covers all four major sports – which Detroit team and when will be the first to have postseason success again?

NHL Playoffs

Maple Leafs center John Tavares met with 5 teams last summer as a free agent. 4 of those teams (Islanders, Bruins, Sharks, Stars) are still playing hockey in this year’s playoffs. His Maple Leafs are not (lost game 7 to Bruins).

For more sports takes, follow me on twitter @msschneid or instagram @mikedropsports

Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.

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