OTC: Jayhawks Top NBA Draft W/ Wiggins & Embiid / ESPN Makes Embiid Look Small / Macfarlane Says Don’t Panic Royals Fans

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Joel Embiid looking happy about the Sixers picking him third overall.

“It doesn’t even feel real. I’m just embracing the fact that I’m here, man.”
Andrew Wiggins, in a radio interview shortly after he was drafted number-one overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, ESPN Radio
GH: Wiggins has to be one of the most humble and likeable one-and-done college superstars to play the game. But is he an NBA superstar? In a draft that some believe the deepest in years, he will need to be to justify the Cavs’ pick.

“(Wiggins) didn’t rack up absurd scoring numbers like Kevin Durant or propel his team to a national title like Carmelo Anthony, but the one-and-done star still flashed enough upside to merit being a top pick. Wiggins showcased an ability to defend multiple positions, an explosive secondary jump around the rim and a knack for finishing with aplomb in transition. The top criticism of Wiggins: he wasn’t assertive enough to take advantage of his physical gifts. In Kansas’ stunning NCAA tournament loss to Stanford, he scored just four points and attempted only six shots, inexplicably floating around the perimeter. There’s no doubt Wiggins has a tendency to coast, but he still has the ability to make an instant impact and get better in years to come.”
Jeff Eisenberg, YahooSports.com
GH: Reading Eisenberg’s evaluation of Wiggins brought back some bad memories of his too-often disappearing act at Kansas. But we all saw that photo his agent tweeted of his vertical jump…

“That’s what I wanted to be and I finally achieved it.”
Andrew Wiggins, when asked about being the first player taken in the 2014 NBA draft, ESPN Radio

“The kid started the year as the No. 1 prospect and finishes the night as the No. 1 prospect. He seems genuinely thrilled to join the Cavaliers and playing on a team with talent and a superstar means he’ll be able to develop at the pace he needs.”
Matt Moore, NBA writer, CBSsports.com
GH: I will be rooting for Wiggins to be great in Cleveland. But it is so damn difficult to be great in Cleveland.

“Andrew Wiggins was asked if he could lure LeBron James back to Cleveland: ‘I want to win. If he wants to win, we’d be good together.’”
Alex Kennedy, @AlexKennedyNBA, Twitter
GH: I would be decent paired with LeBron. The number-one pick needs to be LeBron-like and carry the Cavs with or without another elite superstar.

“Hello Philly!!!! This is my real ‘just got drafted’ face. Couldn’t be happier to be a 76er!!!” Joel Embiid, defusing a mini-controversy over his satellite-delayed somber face shown on ESPN after he was picked by the Sixers, Twitter
GH: ESPN cut to a close-up shot of a very unimpressed Embiid just as he was drafted by Philadelphia. What viewers didn’t realize is that they were seeing Embiid seconds before the pick with the satellite delay. ESPN corrected this miscommunication shortly after by showing a smiling Embiid – but the Twitter damage had been done. Embiid’s stoic face had been frozen forever by social media. This likely won’t have legs but it does point to how easily photos, video and words can be misinterpreted. ESPN didn’t portray Embiid negatively on purpose but we got a good sense of how powerfully manipulative the media can be when they want to mislead.

“It’s different. I’m disappointed not to be there. I wish I could be there. I’m excited the Sixers took me. I still can’t believe it. I started playing basketball so late. Just being here means anything is possible.”
Joel Embiid, on having to watch the draft in LA as he recovers from his foot surgery, ESPN

“Had Embiid not added to concerns about his lingering back problems by also fracturing his right foot last week, he had a good chance of being selected No. 1 overall by the Cavaliers. Instead the 7-footer instantly became the lottery’s biggest boom-or-bust gamble and slid to the Sixers at No. 3. The list of 7-footers derailed by foot and back injuries is long, but Embiid’s upside had to make it difficult for general managers to pass on him despite the fear of drafting another Greg Oden.”
Jeff Eisenberg, on Embiid going third overall to the Sixers, YahooSports.com
GH: Embiid story has just begun. To think he is only three years into his basketball career should make even the surliest of Sixers fans smile.

“Even though (Marcus) Smart shoved a fan, earned a reputation as a flopper and failed to lead his team to a single NCAA tournament victory this past season, the Oklahoma State guard’s decision to return to school for his sophomore year really didn’t hurt him. He still went nearly as high as he would have last June despite the draft being much deeper and stronger. What makes Smart worthy of a high pick is his strength, quickness, smothering defense, leadership and ability to attack the rim. He isn’t a pure point guard and he doesn’t shoot as well from the perimeter as most wings, but he’ll work hard at turning those weaknesses into strengths.”
Jeff Eisenberg, on the 6’3 Oklahoma State guard going sixth to the Celtics, YahooSports.com
GH: Marcus Smart – the most hated player in the Big 12 – didn’t hurt his draft stock one iota by coming back for his sophomore season and flopping on a court near you. I am a Marcus Smart fan – sans the flops. He will be a fun pro to watch as he develops a jumper and hopefully manages to stay upright when they open the doors at Boston’s Garden.

“They don’t need the goal but it would have been nice.”
JP Dellacamera, play-by-play voice for the USA World Cup game against Germany, as team USA missed a chance for a shot on goal in the final minute of their 1-0 loss Thursday, ESPN Radio
GH: Never has a loss by a USA national team been celebrated more fervently than the Yanks’ loss to Germany. Team USA did not even scaring up a shot on goal. Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!

“I love this team!! I love my country!! USA USA USA!!! We’re still hungry….”
Matt Besler, @mbesler, following USA’s advancement out of the Group of Death, Twitter

“At the 810 Zone there were a lot of fans going crazy like they were having heart attacks. I don’t get that. … It is hard to think of them as a winner today but they are a winner.” Kevin Kietzman, on the celebrations by USA fans after their loss to Germany secured them a birth in the round of 16, 810 AM
GH: I was far more pleased with the USA effort and heartbreaking 2-2 tie against Portugal. But what do I know? It is on to the Round of 16 for the Red, White and Blue and games that will need to have a winner.

“I don’t think we are anywhere near soccer’s ceiling in this country.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: Soccer in the states is a lot like the Winter Olympics in the states – it’s popularity peaks every four years with the World Cup. I am far more into futbol this summer than I will be next summer. Not that there is anything wrong with that, right?

“No (I’m not worried about the Royals 1-6 slump). You’re going to have these ebbs and flows. This team is a second-half team. I’ve said that all along and I fully believe it. Let’s get to September and let the Royals get hot when it matters the most.”
Mike Macfarlane, 810 AM
GH: Macfarlane looked like a savant last week when the Royals were wining ten in a row. He again is refusing to back off from his belief that this Royals team is going to win the ALC over an overrated Detroit. I enjoy Mac on the radio but he and the Royals need to understand that the games in June and July mean just as much as the games in September.

“If you do one good thing in that game you played, you’ve had a tremendous game. Even for everyday players. If you’ve done one good thing you’ve had a good game.”
Rex Hudler, after the Royals rarely used Brett Hayes threw out a runner at second, Fox Sports KC GH: One good thing equals a tremendous game? This is a good example of why Rex just doesn’t resonate with savvy baseball fans. He’s a fun cartoon to watch as an anvil drops on his head nightly but intelligent fans expect so much more than cheerleading. Maybe this says something about Royals fans. Maybe there are far more fans like KK’s mom than KK.

“So is now an appropriate time to acknowledge something’s wrong with James Shields? He now has the highest ERA in the Royals’ rotation.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, after Shields was again rocked in his start against the Dodgers, Twitter GH: Shields has not looked like Shields for some time. There is no reason to panic, though. He is either going to get it turnaround or not. And then he will be gone. Unless the Royals get into this pennant race, there isn’t much use in expending the energy of concern.

“Also James Shields is pissed he keeps getting called for that balk. Yost plans to send footage to MLB office for clarification.”
Andy McCullough, @McCullough, after Shields balked in a runner from third for the second time this season, Twitter GH: Shields is really good at getting pissed. I liked him better when he was getting pissed and getting batters out before they homered.

“There is only one way to succeed in anything and that is to give it everything…”
Dwayne Bowe, @DwayneBowe82, Twitter
GH: What if Dwayne Bowe played this entire season like he did in the Chiefs playoff game last January? It could happen. And what a season that would be.

and Twitter @greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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26 Responses to OTC: Jayhawks Top NBA Draft W/ Wiggins & Embiid / ESPN Makes Embiid Look Small / Macfarlane Says Don’t Panic Royals Fans

  1. Joe Blow says:

    “If you do one good thing in that game you played, you’ve had a tremendous game. Even for everyday players. If you’ve done one good thing you’ve had a good game.”
    Rex Hudler, after the Royals rarely used Brett Hayes threw out a runner at second, Fox Sports KC

    Man, you *really* don’t understand baseball, do you? There’s a baseline for performance, but if you do one exceptional thing a night, that’s a huge positive. Hayes made a perfect throw to third to nail the MLB stolen base leader with one out — that was a big play!

    Anyway, I watched the USA/Germany game yesterday and actually enjoyed the competition, but any soccer fans, please explain to me: on about 90% of their possessions in the 2nd half, the US decided that booting the ball 60 yards downfield and giving the ball back to Germany was a good idea. Why? It was like, “Hey, we played good defense last time. Let’s give the ball back to them and try to do it again!” They couldn’t even retain the ball when they threw it in from the sidelines. It was like watching a basketball team turn the ball over 150 times a game. And no one would even take a shot towards the goal — they were basically waiting to make the perfect pass so someone could get a slam dunk instead of even making an attempt to score from anywhere else.

    • Joe Blow says:

      “So is now an appropriate time to acknowledge something’s wrong with James Shields? He now has the highest ERA in the Royals’ rotation.”
      Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, after Shields was again rocked in his start against the Dodgers, Twitter

      Shields is having a tough time lately, but you also have to remember that Rany is dying to have something to criticize about the Shields/Myers trade, since Myers sucked this year before getting injured. So, take that for what it’s worth..

  2. Phaedrus says:

    Rany annoys the hell out of me.

    When Guthrie had a decent ERA, Rany and the other stat nerds would go on and on about how Guthrie’s xfip++ was terrible, so he really wasn’t as good as his ERA suggested.

    Now, he uses Shields’ ERA to imply something is wrong with him.

    So, if the ERA is low, you must look at babip, xfip, etc to figure out if the pitcher is any good.

    If the ERA is high, the pitcher just sucks.

  3. Mike says:

    I agree there. The USMNT was rarely in attack mode during the game, and the Germans were really crisp and precise in their passing. And Michael Bradley has not looked the part at all this month. They better ramp it up against the Belgians or they’ll get waffled. (That’s gold, Jerry! GOLD, I tell you!!)

  4. Kyle R says:

    I thought Luke Winn, the SI college basketball advanced metrics guru, had some interesting thoughts on Smart in this article: http://www.si.com/nba/2014/06/26/jabari-parker-andrew-wiggins-2014-nba-draft-thoughts

    “As deep as this draft is, it lacks a true star point guard. Marcus Smart has the makings of an elite defender in the NBA, but I don’t buy into the “leader”/”winner” labels that pundits keep putting on him. In two years on a reasonably talented team, he failed to earn Oklahoma State a single early season tournament title, Big 12 regular season crown, Big 12 tournament championship, or even win a single NCAA tournament game. He didn’t create all that well for teammates — Tyler Ennis’ pure point rating puts Smart’s to shame — and Smart complained and flopped more than anyone I watched. His attitude on film rarely ever matched up with his reputation as a mature leader.”

    As a Milwaukee Bucks fan, it’s going to be interesting seeing how Wiggins and Jabari Parker turn out, comparatively. I was torn on what I wanted the Bucks to do in this draft. Being a KU fan, Wiggins would have been cool but I’m not at all convinced Wiggins will be a great pro. Parker will score but doubt he’s a superstar. Based on what I heard Chad Ford of ESPN saying about Dante Exum and his competitiveness/drive, I was sort of hoping they went that way too, as that’s a critical thing and what Wiggins seems to lack.

    Regardless, the intrigue and the draft itself are far more interesting to me than watching the NBA itself, which is kind of a weird conundrum.

  5. The Independent Rage says:

    The USA has advanced in prior World Cups (e.g., I believe 1994 and 2002, and maybe more recently too) the very same way — four points as a result of a win, tie and loss. Would it have made people happier if they’d lost their first game but then won the third? If so, is it about advancing in the tournament or is it about only the last of the three games meaning a shit of difference, like something out of a bad Janet Jackson video from the ’90s?

    The national resonation I noticed of this apparent “they advanced with a loss” talking point seems to presuppose that there’s something rare or hokey about advancing with 4 points in World Cup competition. There’s not. As stated above, even the USA team has been-there, done-that multiple times before. Surprising that the round-robin concept would seem so new or mysterious to so many across the country. But then again, we live in a country where I’d venture that half the people on the street couldn’t name the vice president, so W-T-F do I know over here?

    • Fred Flintstone says:

      From the Late Night Comics (Conan O’Brian & Jimmy Fallon, I believe)

      1. “Yes, watching the soccer match was exciting! People were Yawning at the top of their lungs.”

      2. “I think the US squad has the talent to continue to lose their way into the finals of the World Cup.”

      • BlackJack says:

        Wow, that is just flipping hilarious!!

        Did you come up with that all by yourself??

        • Fred Flintstone says:

          BlackJackAss,
          READ and comprehend.
          “Late Night Comics” means not me.
          Jesus, I had no idea you were/are that stupid.

          • BlackJack says:

            You’re right – I should have realized you do not have the intelligence to come up with your own original opinions, just regurgitate the same tired, lazy “jokes” about subjects you are woefully incompetent about.

            My bad!

    • Joe Blow says:

      Whatever…they sure looked like shit yesterday.

    • The Independent Rage says:

      Not a single point I raised addressed by any “commenter”. And some might wonder why I rarely engage here beyond a simple first comment. Frankly, I have a shit-around-the-house rabbit who’s better worth the time investment.

      • Java Man says:

        ” And some might wonder why I rarely engage here beyond a simple first comment. ”

        Yeah, Rage. We have all really fucking wondered that point.

    • BlackJack says:

      Most people who comment on these boards, especially about soccer, are simply dumbasses, so those lack of understanding on those points should not surprise you.

      Whether it is the misnomers about “flopping” or “ties” or questions about “manliness” I can sort of get. But why someone would not comprehend the simple aspect of advancing out of your group on total points, even though you lost the last game to Germany, I just don’t get.

  6. Herb says:

    Soccer sucks….but Hudler sucks more. Horrible mismanagement by the organization getting rid of Frank White for Rex Fuckler.

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