Wassell: Why I passed over Vita Vea for Seahawks in ESPN Radio mock draft

I was asked to go on ESPN Radio’s Freddie and Fitzsimmons last week as part of the show’s mock draft (listen here). Each guest had to make a first-round pick on behalf of their local team, so it was up to me to act for the Seahawks at No. 18. The only problem was that I wasn’t allowed to do the responsible thing and make a trade.

O’Neil: Is Seahawks’ draft touch gone? Story has to be told in phases

Surprisingly, by the time it was my turn to pick, Washington Huskies defensive tackle Vita Vea was still on the board. And I didn’t take him.

We’ve discussed this a million times: Do you draft for need or do you go with the best player available?

One GM after another, including Bill Belichick, has stated that drafting for need is a bad idea because if you are only focused on filling holes, you end up passing on great players. But in reading mock drafts that are considered to be even remotely credible, the one thing you keep finding over and over is that most of their reasoning is based around… need.

We even heard Seahawks general manager John Schneider address this very issue at Monday’s press conference when asked about whether or not he had ever pursued need over best player in the past. His response: “Yeah, I think that’s fair – in a couple instances, sure… You can’t just go out there and create the perfect player, otherwise, we’d be outside picking them off trees or something.”

So knowing that Schneider has directly addressed need before and all the smart guys out there with mock drafts use this concept as the foundation of their work, I felt better about taking a chance.

How does this sound?

With the 18th pick in …read more

Source:: MyNorthwest.com – Sports

Jazz and Thunder get very chippy with harsh words and seven technical fouls in Utah victory

SALT LAKE CITY — With all that was on the line Saturday night, it wasn’t too surprising that the Monday’s Game 4 would get a little chippy. Or should we say a lot chippy?

Both teams talked beforehand about the game getting more physical, which it did from the start with more than the usual pushing and shoving going on. By the end of the night, seven technical fouls had been whistled and a few more probably could have been called with all the harsh words between the two teams. In addition, 44 personal fouls were called in the game.

Four technical fouls were whistled in the first half alone — two on each side — as the officials tried to keep a lid on things before they got out of hand.

Oklahoma City’s Paul George got the first T less than four minutes into the game after a dust-up with the annoying Joe Ingles, who has a habit of getting on opposing players’ nerves.

Then it was OKC’s Steven Adams’ turn early in the second quarter when, after thinking he was fouled by Utah’s Rudy Gobert, slapped at Gobert’s arm before he headed up court.

Utah coach Quin Snyder, whose total number of technical fouls in his four years as Jazz coach can be counted on one hand, picked up a T after Gobert was mugged underneath the basket, attempting a shot.

Snyder, his blue suit coat flying, charged out onto the court about 20 feet in front of the Jazz bench, making it an easy call for the officials.

The fourth technical came late in the first half, when Ingles appeared to get a little too mouthy after sinking his third straight 3-pointer.

Russell Westbrook, who made a guarantee to shut down Ricky Rubio after the Jazz guard went off for 26 points Saturday night, has …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

Brad Rock: Jazz-Oklahoma City show the news isn’t always the biggest news

SALT LAKE CITY — The highly anticipated Russell Westbrook vs. Ricky Rubio smackdown came off Monday at Vivint Arena with relatively few fireworks. A bit of bumping, a little Westbarking, but that was about it.

The Jazz won it with room to spare, 113-96.

Westbrook’s promise of shutting down Rubio, following the Jazz guard’s triple-double last Saturday, didn’t totally happen, but it actually didn’t much matter.

A triple-double from their point guard isn’t something the Jazz plan on.

Either way, Westbrook’s comments following Saturday’s game added spice to a competitive but unremarkable playoff series.

The pregame buzz again proved that controversy — contrived or real — is alive and well in the NBA. Records fall, uniform colors change, legends pass, but the time-honored tradition of hyper-drama lives in perpetuity.

During Monday’s Game 4 of the playoffs between the Jazz and Oklahoma City, all eyes were on Westbrook, because he mentioned something that should be on any player’s to-do list: stop an opponent that is thriving.

After Saturday’s game he promised to end Rubio’s run of postseason success. The Jazz guard’s 26-point, 11-rebound, 10-assist night was more than Westbrook could, well, brook.

“I’ma shut that (expletive) off next game, though. Guarantee that,” he said.

This sent the media into launch protocol.

He neither shut Rubio down nor let him run wild.

Westbrook got a double-double, Rubio got a nice mix of everything.

Guarantees usually ensure nothing except a slew of publicity.

Tame as the Jazz franchise has historically been, it nearly always finds a way to get caught up in these things. In last year’s first round, the Clippers’ Chris Paul called Jazz fans “homers.” Never mind that any self-respecting fan should be a homer. Jazz fans took it as an insult. In the second round, several Warriors pointed out Salt Lake is boring. That refrain has been circulating since Lake Bonneville existed.

There were …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News

Buehler! Top prospect stars in Dodgers’ win over Miami

LOS ANGELES — Cody Bellinger drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth, prized prospect Walker Buehler tossed five scoreless innings in his first major league start and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Miami Marlins 2-1 on Monday night.

Buehler topped out at 99 mph while allowing four hits in an 89-pitch outing. The 23-year-old right-hander struck out five and walked three in helping the Dodgers (11-10) move above .500 for the first time this season with their third straight win.

Enrique Hernandez homered on a 3-2 pitch from Marlins starter Jarlin Garcia in the fourth to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Hernandez backed Buehler with two sparkling defensive plays in place of shortstop Corey Seager, who struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.

After Buehler issued a two-out walk to Garcia, Hernandez made a diving stop on a ball headed up the middle and whipped around to complete a pinpoint throw to first to end the inning.

Hernandez turned in a similar play in the third to throw out Starlin Castro for the second out.

Buehler pitched himself in and out of trouble in the first.

After retiring leadoff hitter Miguel Rojas on a grounder to second, Buehler gave up consecutive singles on identical 89 mph sliders to J.T. Realmuto and Castro. Brian Anderson took a called third strike before Cameron Maybin walked to load the bases.

But Buehler was unruffled. He got JB Shuck on a swinging strike to end the inning and start a run of retiring seven of eight batters.

Maybin singled on …read more

Source:: Sportsnet.ca