Friday, February 22, 2019 Medina 31°
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Sports

Rick Noland: Sinking, stinking, thinking...

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It’s been too long, so let’s catch up on a number of things with a (rather cranky) Rick-o-chet around the world of sports:

The Cavaliers have had a lot more players go through the turnstiles in recent days, but here’s the only two things you really need to know: They succeeded — yes, succeeded — in making their already lousy roster worse for this season and they added a first-round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft that figures to be right around No. 20. …

General manager Koby Altman also continued his trend of seemingly wanting to acquire 97 future second-round picks, but that’s not a story until he hits on one or turns a bunch of them into a first-round pick. …

In a nutshell, gone are starters Rodney Hood and Alec Burks, both about to be unrestricted free agents, both underachievers and neither in the Cavs’ future plans. In their place are Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight, neither of whom is going to spark this team’s first — gasp! — three-game winning streak. …

Chriss is 6-foot-10, 240 pounds and in his third NBA season despite being just 21 years old. He was the No. 8 pick in the 2016 draft and put up some decent numbers in Phoenix, but those are to be taken with a grain of salt because most came at the end of blowout losses. He did virtually nothing with Houston this season. …

Knight is a 27-year-old, once-promising point guard whose career has been derailed by injury. He missed all of the 2017-18 season with a torn ACL and has played in just 12 games this season, so Collin Sexton (unfortunately) and Matthew Dellavedova (fortunately) don’t have to worry about losing much playing time. …

That means the Cavs (11-43), NBA-worst Knicks (10-43), Bulls (12-42) and Suns (11-45) can resume their bare-knuckle brawl for the worst record in the league. …

Here’s the bad news: The three worst teams in the league each will have just a 14 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick (Zion Williamson) in the draft lottery. The team with the worst record still will have a 48 percent chance of picking fourth or fifth. And the team with the fourth-worst mark still could pick as low as No. 8, which is where Sexton went a year ago (and Chriss went three years ago). …

Translation: Unless the Cavs get really lucky in the draft lottery, unless Kevin Love regains his All-Star form and stays healthy, unless Sexton suddenly discovers how to play point guard and defense, unless a good coach is hired and unless significantly more talent is added, this team’s best hope — and it’s really not a reason for hope in the NBA — is to improve to average over the next few seasons. …

Bet that’s got you ready to go out and buy season tickets, huh? …

While we’re on the subject of tickets, the Cavs have shamelessly listed all 27 of their home games this season as sellouts. …

It’s nice that there is finally justified optimism and excitement surrounding the Browns, but I could do without a lengthy press conference for new coordinators on Feb. 7. …

This organization — and the NFL in general — is masterful when it comes to keeping itself in the news 24/7/365, but it’s made possible only because print media, radio talk shows and local news broadcasts get suckered into thinking these types of press conferences

matter. …

As for the Patriots’ 13-3 win in Super Bowl LIII — sorry, coworker Jim Ingraham, but I like the Roman numerals — I didn’t think it was as boring as many others did. …

It certainly was more entertaining than Maroon 5’s off-key, nonsensical halftime performance (though I swear one of the men that joined the group onstage was actually Terrell Owens). …

The one thing I know for sure, though, is daring to criticize (shirtless) Adam Levine is going to make a number of my female Facebook friends irate, to the point where that one sentence will be all they remember from this column. …

As for the game, I thought it was a great defensive battle and chess match, though it did start to drag at times. …

I stuck with it until the end, though, because I had a beer bet on what color Gatorade would be thrown on the winning coach. I thought I had a huge advantage with yellow, green and orange — the other guy had red, blue and purple — but I’m now $5 poorer. …

New England receiver Julian Edelman was an OK choice as MVP, but in a 13-3 game that featured two previously high-powered offenses, Patriots defensive back Stephon Gilmore would have been a better choice. …

More shocking, not one New England defensive player even received a vote for MVP. …

Tony Romo, meanwhile, has rapidly ascended to the best game analyst in the business, but I didn’t think his Super Bowl effort was nearly as spectacular as many did. …

Speaking of television (and absolutely horrible transitions), it won’t be long until the Indians are playing, which means Matt Underwood second-guessing every ball-and-strike call that doesn’t go the Tribe’s way. …

The Indians, by the way, are a considerably worse team than they were at the end of last season, but they’re still going to win the lousy AL Central. …

And once you get into the playoffs in baseball, anything is possible (though it hasn’t happened in Cleveland the last two years). …

That’s a far cry from the NBA, where only a small handful of teams have even a shot at unseating Golden State. …

And where the Cavs have become almost — do I need the word “almost”? — totally irrelevant. …

OK, I’ve spread enough cheer — cheer??? — for one day. Till next time!

Contact Rick Noland at rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Follow him @RickNoland on Twitter.



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