Another great week of sports was capped off by some NBA playoff action. Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings predicted that the Bucks would beat the Heat in six games in their opening-round series. Well, Jennings was a little off in his prediction. The Heat, minus Dwyane Wade for today, defeated the Bucks 88-77 to sweep the Bucks right out of the playoffs. Jennings had confidence in his team to win this series but his team could not back up his words. Heading into next season, there will definitely be some interesting options for the Bucks. Jennings is a restricted free agent, which gives the organization the option to match any deal out there for him. Also, his backcourt mate, Monta Ellis, is expected to hit the open market this offseason along with backup guard JJ Reddick. Milwaukee definitely has some decisions to make with their guard situation. It should be interesting to see who stays and who leaves the city.
But the Bucks were not alone in exiting the playoffs. The Los Angeles Lakers came into this season as championship contenders after acquiring center Dwight Howard and point guard Steve Nash. But with all the injuries and inconsistent play, the Lakers never reached anywhere near the potential that many thought they had. After Sundays 103-82 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers season mercifully came to an end. But heading into next season, a new set of issues arise. Kobe Bryant is scheduled to make $30.4 million next season but will more than likely be out at least some of next season with an Achilles’ tendon tear. Also, center Dwight Howard is a free agent this offseason. Plenty have suggested that the Lakers use the amnesty on Kobe to retain Howard and bring them under the salary cap. But the luxury cap may not be that big of an issue for the Lakers. The team has a deal with Time Warner that provides them some additional revenue to offset the luxury tax, should they plan to go over the cap. When you look at the issues arising from that perspective, it isn’t very hard to see that the Lakers have resources and funds to get to. It’s just a matter of do the Lakers want to pay that tax or not.
But the NBA was not the only thing going on this weekend. The 2013 NFL Draft definitely caught a lot of people’s attention. But one of the most interesting players to watch was former West Virginia Mountaineer Geno Smith. The talented quarterback had a good season individually and brought some high praise from many. But some felt that he was not as good as advertised. Apparently, that snuck into the thoughts and minds of the NFL teams and Smith was not selected in the first round of the draft. He was visibly upset and said that he would not comeback on the second day of the draft( He ended up attending).Smith ended up getting drafted by the Jets and just like that, he walks into a perfect scenario. Some feel that he could be their starter of the future and why not? The Jets seem like they are all but ready to give up on Mark Sanchez soon and the rest of the quarterbacks on their team are not guys that are thought of as starters. Geno may not have gone in the first round like he definitely could be running that Jets offense sooner rather than later.
In other draft news, it seems like one of the best teams in the NFL just got even better. The San Francisco 49ers had tons of picks heading into this year’s draft. And they certainly made good use of them. They drafted a potential starting safety, a potential slot receiver and also a couple valuable backups in the linebacker/ defensive lineman department. For all the things that San Francisco has, they did not have depth in their front seven nor did they have a consistent third receiver. With this year’s picks, they addressed everything that they felt they needed. But for as much as these picks seem like steals, they can also becoming non-impact players. Only time will tell if these guys can rise or meet the expectations that they have on themselves as much as the team.
Finally, Miami sophomore guard Shane Larkin has decided to enter the NBA Draft. The 5’11 guard was going to come back to college after his season ended, but the gruesome leg injury to Louisville guard Kevin Ware helped encourage him to head to the professional ranks. In this year’s draft, he will be looked at as one of the best point guards available. But I think this speaks more to the effect that Kevin Ware had on him. That one single moment changed Larkin’s decision due to him fearing being injured. As a result of this decision, I wonder how many other players have thought about leaving for the professional ranks after his injury. One thing is for sure though: Nothing in life is guaranteed.
These are my thoughts and these are my words. Until next time…..