Monday Morning Coffee

May 20, 2024

The last week at the NBA combine has been ridiculous. I’ve never seen press conferences held for kids that are not projected to be drafted. Bronny James was the first. To his credit, he seems like a great kid and handled it very well. However, why is Lebron in such a rush for his kid to get to the pros? Everyone is telling you that he isn’t ready yet. So why not let him go back to school and develop more? Yes Lebron, we get it, you want to play with your kid in the league. However, why not give him the best chance to succeed in the Association by letting him develop more in college? If the kid gets drafted, we really aren’t that far away from Lebron and Klutch demanding that he actually gets an NBA roster spot, and even gets some playing time. Imagine that… will have the sports helicopter parent and their kid on the Lakers! It could happen. This is exactly why the Lakers coaching job is viewed by others as a circus. You’re viewed as nothing but a figurehead that does whatever Lebron wants you to do.

One thing I’ve gotta say about the Clippers: they don’t lack self-awareness. President of Basketball Ops Lawrence Frank said they are trying to bring back their core of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook. He does acknowledge there is skepticism about the group given their advancing age. “I understand the skepticism of, ‘Hey, this is another year where you haven’t had the group [whole],’” he said.“But I would guard against the cynicism. Just because it’s happened [four straight seasons] doesn’t mean it’s always going to happen next year.” What’s the saying? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I’m always a believer in giving a group time together to develop chemistry and continuity. However, if a group like the Clippers is aging and getting less durable year after year, then building that continuity is nearly impossible. That’s exactly what happened here. Kawhi was fine for 68 games, and then given his knee issues, he was done. Why would we be led to believe things will be any different for him moving forward? Unfortunately for the Clippers, this is a business decision and not a basketball one given that they are moving to a new arena.

Speaking of the NBA, their television deal is up for renewal, and there are tons of rumors circulating about who will get the National Broadcast rights. Industry sources are saying that there is a handshake agreement with ESPN to continue with some of the games, as well as a new agreement with Amazon Prime in place. That leaves NBC and Turner fighting over the last share of games, and NBC is reportedly in the lead. That’s extremely bitter sweet for most long-time NBA fans. If Turner doesn’t have the NBA, we no longer get Inside The NBA with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kenny Smith. The show is honestly better than most of the games. That’s the bitter part. The sweet part? You get the super sweet John Tesh NBA on NBC music. I know what you’re thinking….would the entire cast move to another network? Well it seems as though Ernie Johnson has already told Turner he plans to stay there to continue his coverage of the NCAA and MLB simply out of loyalty. I guess Ernie has never seen Game of Thrones, because loyalty can get you killed. I think if we all got what we want, it would be NBC, TNT, Amazon, and get rid of ESPN and ABC with their left wing crap. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s either Turner or NBC who will be out, which means the death of something we all love.

To baseball, where the Dodgers took 3 out of 4 from the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. Surprisingly, Shohei Ohtani had his first walk off winning hit in 4 years. Then again, you remember, how often could that have possibly have happened with a a terrible Angels team? Ohtani may actually be playing better than we’ve ever seen him, and the Boys in Blue have a very comfortable 7.5 game lead in the NL West. They are also solving some of their issues one at a time. Walker Buehler looked much better over the weekend in his 3rd start since returning to the mound. The Dodger pitching staff already has the best ERA in the National League, and the effective return of Buehler, and eventually Bobby Miller, Clayton Kershaw, and Dustin May has everyone salivating over their October potential. Their bullpen is also looking a bit better too with Blake Treinen back in the mix, and another lefty option Anthony Banda added to the mix. You’ve still gotta worry about the defense and situational hitting, but those problems may not get solved until closer to the trade deadline.

Meanwhile, the Angels actually won 2 out of 3 against the Rangers over the weekend, but they are still stuck in last place in the AL West. The worst part about the Halos though is that they are getting a worse and worse reputation by the day. Sam Blum, who covers the Angels for The Athletic, wrote an article last week about how the Angels have basically become a landing spot for Major Leaguers who wouldn’t be given a chance otherwise. The latest of those is outfielder Kevin Pillar, who was dumped by the AL worst Chicago White Sox. These comeback stories are nice, but the entire success of the season is dependent on the success of these players, which speaks very poorly about the ability of the organization to develop a robust minor league system. The noise about this is becoming louder and louder, and the Angels reputation is becoming worse and worse around baseball, and among their fan base.

Congratulations to Xander Schauffele on winning the PGA Championship over the weekend. I was really hoping that Scottie Scheffler would win it though, after he went through hell on Friday morning, getting arrested by a police officer after a huge misunderstanding. I can understand that police officers would be on edge after a pedestrian fatality, but they really need to make sure these officers know who the players actually are in these situations, otherwise they look foolish. Finally, a golf story that overshadowed Tiger Woods after all these years!

Finally, the NFL released their schedule last week, and the Rams have an interesting slate. They have the 12th hardest schedule in the league, so middle of the road really. They do play 6 playoff teams from last year, but 4 of those games are at home. The start of the schedule is tough because they’ll get the Lions and 49ers in 2 of their first 3. The finish isn’t exactly a piece of cake either against an improving Arizona team, and an always tough Seattle team. Their bye week is also a little on the early side in week 6, which isn’t necessarily ideal for an older Quarterback with Matt Stafford, but this should be a good football team, with a pathway to success this coming season.

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