Five Years Later: Reviewing the 2008 draft


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They say you have to wait five years before you can properly evaluate a draft class in baseball. Players need to be given an opportunity to climb the minor-league ladder and cut their teeth at the the club in 2009, Simon Weaver has transformed the fortunes of Harrogate Town AFC.The club, which were struggling for money and marooned towards the bottom of the National League North, are now on the brink of a historic promotion to the Football Le big-league level before we start declaring winners and losers. That hasn’t stopped us before, of course, and it won’t sty winger was withdrawn from England’s Euro2020 qualifier with Montenegro after clashing with teammate Joe Gomez.”We have moved on it,” said Hudson-Odoi on Thursday. “We have all discussed it as a team, we have had a little talk with each other, and mop us in the future.

The 2013 draft will begin on Thursday night, making this the perfect time to go back those five years to evaluate the 2008 draft. That class has already given us two Rookies of the Year, an MVP and a batting champion, so it’s off to a pretty great start. With some help from the incomparable , let’s break down the 2008 draft.

(round/overall pick)

— 14.3 WAR — 2010 Rookie of the Year, 2012 NL MVP, 2012 batting champ, two-time World Series champ … Posey isn’t just the best player from the 2008 draft, he’s one of the very best in baseball. The , , and all passed on him. — 8.7 WAR — Lawrie was drafted by the Brewers before being traded to the Blue Jays for Shaun Marcum in a one-for-one deal. — 8.2 WAR — Broke into the show barely one year after being drafted and hasn’t gone back to the minors. — 7.4 WAR — Arguably the most dominant reliever in baseball, Kimbrel went from hard-throwing but wild junior college pitcher to having a 2.1 BB/9 over the last two years. — 5.6 WAR — Chicago turned Hudson, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery at the moment, into Edwin Jackson at the 2010 trade deadline. — 5.4 WAR — Espinosa tried playing through injury and hasn’t hit much in 2013, but he was close to being a 20-20 player in both 2011 and 2012. — 4.9 WAR — Although he hasn’t become a star as expected, Beckham has done more than most from his draft class. — 4.7 WAR — Lynn spent some time going back and forth between the rotation and bullpen, but he’s a full-time starter now and a very good one. — 4.6 WAR — Very quietly, Crawford is one of the game’s more reliable shortstops. He can really pick it, and his offense is improving. — 4.4 WAR — No one from the 2008 draft class has hit more home runs than Davis, who has 63 career long balls to his name. — 3.8 WAR — Turning an eighth-round pick into a left-handed platoon outfielder is a pretty great return on the investment. — 3.5 WAR — The Phillies got nearly 300 above-average innings (114 ERA+) from Worley before sending him to the Twins for Ben Revere. — 3.4 WAR — Washington used Milone as part of the package to acquire Gio Gonzalez, so this 10th rounder has worked out spendidly. — 3.3 WAR — Miley was the runner-up for last year’s NL Rookie of the Year award. — 3.3 WAR — Arizona used Cook to acquire Trevor Cahill from the Athletics before last season.

Only two other players in the entire draft class have accumulated 3.0+ WAR in the big leagues: reliever (2/57) and catcher (1/10). They’re at 3.3 and 3.0 WAR for their careers, respectively. Now, let’s look at some late-round steals.

— The Athletics have benefited directly from both guys after acquiring them in trades during the 2011-12 offseason. –2.5 WAR — Phelps cracked the big-league roster as the long man last year and has since pitched his way into New York’s rotation. — 2.0 WAR — Campana, who has since moved on to the Diamondbacks, is your 2008 draft class leader with 54 stolen bases. — 1.7 WAR — The Dodgers turned this late-round pick into Hanley Ramirez (and Randy Choate) at the trade deadline last year. — 1.3 WAR — There might not be a more dominant or harder-throwing setup man in the game right now.

Every draft has some busts, and the 2008 class is no different. Obviously, some busts are much more spectacular than others. Here are five high picks who have yet to contribute to the big-league team in a meaninguful way and are unlikely to do so in the future.

— Yes, the top overall pick in the draft. Baseball America continues to rate Beckham as one of the top 10 prospects in Tampa Bay’s system, but it’s obvious he won’t live up to expectations that come with being a first overall pick. — Skipworth did actually reach the show this year and spent a few days on the roster as the backup catcher, but he’s a career .216/.279/.371 hitter in nearly 2,000 minor-league plate appearances. Yikes. — Wallace was considered one of the two or three best hitters in the draft class at the time, but he hasn’t hit in the big leagues at all (87 OPS+). The Cardinals wisely traded him as part of the package for Matt Holliday in 2009. — Along with Beckham, Martin is one of just two top-20 picks from 2008 to fail to reach the show. He has a 4.85 ERA in more than 500 minor-league innings, but Los Angeles was able to trade him to get Shane Victorino at the deadline last year. — Fields was the best reliever in the draft class, but he’s had trouble throwing strikes throughout his career. The Astros took him as a Rule 5 Draft this winter before he hit the DL with a forearm strain.

There are plenty more busts where those five came from, but not all busts are created equally. Some players fail to live up to expectations but remain solid contributors. Are they disappointments? Sure. Are they still useful players? Definitely.

— The 4.9 WAR has a lot to do with playing time — Beckham leads 2 Brann.The goalkeeper joined the Canaries on loan from German giants Schalke last summer, but played just 22 minutes of Premier League football for City, which came in a 2-0 defeat to Crystal Palace in September.Fahrmann said: “Last summer, I moved008 draft position players in games (545) and plate appearances (2,102) by a lot — but the middle-infield bar is so low that he remains a rosterable player. — 2.0 WAR — Matusz tried and failed as a starter, then tried and failed again. And one more time after that. He has settled in as a very good lefty reliever. — 1.7 WAR — He leaves something to be desired on defense and against left-handers, but Alvarez has huge power and doesn’t exactly kill the Pirates at the hot corner. — 1.3 WAR — I was tempted to put Hosmer in the “Biggest Busts” category, but a 96 OPS+ in nearly 1,400 MLB plate appearances is hardly a disaster. — 0.3 WAR — The Rangers are thrilled because they turned Smoak into Cliff Lee, but a 92 OPS+ in over 1,600 plate appearances is only so useful for the Mariners.

Finally, let’s look at the players who got away. These are guys who were drafted in 2008 but declined to sign, only to go back into the draft in future years and become big-league players.

— 6.5 WAR — The Padres were unable to reel Kipnis in as their fourth-rounder, and the next year he went in the second round to the . — 2.5 WAR — Crow turned down Washington as the ninth overall pick only to come out as the 12th overall pick to the Royals in 2009. — 1.7 WAR — Scheppers had some injury concerns but still went 44th overall to the Rangers in 2009.

It’s worth noting that top prospects (1/28 to Yankees) and (27/820 to Braves) both decided to go to college rather than turn pro in 2008, then came out as first-round picks in 2011. Cole went first overall to the Pirates, Rendon sixth to the Nationals. They’re the ultimate “ones who got away.”


Leicester City winger Fousseni Diabate has joined


starting pitcher followed up his worst start of the season with arguably his best Saturday, as he tossed seven shutout innings against the Mets. 

Fernandez allowed just three hits in seven innings of work, all of them singles. He worked efficiently, throwing 60 of 87 pitches for strikes, while walking just one batter. He struck out eight, one shy of his career-high. 

Fernandez also get plenty of run support to push his record back to .500 at 3-3 following the 8-1 win. He has now allowed three of fewer runs in eight of his first 11 starts, with a 3.34 ill replace his father Alberto as coach of the Roma Primavera youth team. The former timate Europa League opponents Gent on Thursday night.The first leg of the round 32 tie ended 1-0 at the Olimpicor FA Cup defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.Adam Reach’s deflected strike midway through the second half sealed a 1-0 win for the Championship outfit and Potter admitted it had been a ‘flat’ display by his side, who struggled to create clear-cut opportuni.“It’s a very important game and we want to qualify for the next round, but we have to concentrate on what we have to do tomorrow,” saimidfielder announced his retirement after a career in the Giallorossi jersey and very brief spell at Boca Juniors.But he told Gazzetta dello Sport: “I read about sERA.

Fernandez will try to follow up his strong start with another one against the Mets, this time scheduled for Friday in New York. 

More News 09/25/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 09/24/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 09/21/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 09/15/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 09/10/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 09/08/2016 • by RotoWire Staff


for Chelsea this summer.Tottenham are tracking th


The are starter  on Tuesday to take Brandon McCarthy’s spot in the rotation , .com reports Saturday.

McCarthy hit the disabled list Saturday with shoulder problems. Randall DAC Milan goalkeepr Pepe Reina hopes to earn a late career return to the LaLiga.But he concedes it’s a long shot.”I think it’s hard for me to finish my career in Spain,” the former Barceloio Graziani is backing Bologna’s move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic.Bologna sports chief Marco di Vaio has held talks with the off contract LA Galaxy striker about a return to Italy.Bologna are battling Ibra’s former club AC Milan for the Swede and Grazianina keeper admitted.”If God wants it and everything goes well, maybe I can coach there.”I want to stay connected to football and I will live there, but as a player it’s hard to see.”elgado was called up to give the bullpen an extra arm, but the club is planning to use Skaggs as McCarthy’s replacement. Skaggs pitched six shutout innings with nine strikeouts Monday against Texas in his only start of 2013.

More News 07/01/2019 • by RotoWire Staff ourinho has heaped praise on Jorginho.While criticised by some pundits, Mourinho isn’t having it after seeing the midfielder help Chelsea defeat Watford yesterday.He told Bein Sport: “For me Jorginho is the best midfielder in Europe. “The world in 06/30/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 06/24/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 06/19/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 06/14/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 06/12/2019 • by RotoWire Staff


lam Slimani at AS Monaco.On-loan from Leicester Ci


second baseman provided a three-run homer in a four-run first inning during Monday’s 5-1 wihas told Real Madrid that Christian Eriksen is not for sale.El Confidencial says Real president Florentino Perez had been hoping to cut a deal to take him to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer, as he and coach Zinedine Zidane plot a Madrid overhaul.Bun against the Twins. It was his eighth home run and fourth in May.

Unfortunately, Uggla’s home run was just his second hit in his last eight games since having a seven-game hit streak end May 9. Uggla is batting .071 (2 for 28) with one double, one home run and four RBI in his last eight games.

al win at Valencia.Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit a hat-trick and Alexandre Lacazette also scored as the Gunners won 4-2 on the night and 7-3 on aggregate.Emery said of the pair, “Yes, really they are very good strikers but I am proud of them in how t More News 10/04/2015 • by RotoWire Staff 09/01/2015 • by Jason Lempert 08/19/2015 • by Sean D’Oliveira 08/18/2015 • by Jason Lempert hizkid Islam Feruz has been without a club for two years, it has been revealed.The Sun says Feruz was plucked away from Celtic, aged 15, to be another star at the club’s Cobham academy.But such promise didn’t translate into success for the striker as 08/08/2015 • by Marty Gitlin 06/29/2015 • by Marty Gitlin


ma deal.The veteran striker, who was linked with I


reliever (elbow), who is on a rehab assignment with Class A Lake County, is Friday, according to The Plain Dealer. Nick Hagadone was optioned to Triple-A Columbus Thursday to clear a roster spot.

More News 07/06/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 03/19/2016 • by RotoWire Staff -add-ons-Brentford-Folarin-Balogun.html” target=”_blank”>Daily Mail says Brentford have had a bid rejected for £5m plus add-ons for Balogun. The Gunners turned down an offer and the Championship promotion hopefuls could face shock competition for Ba 02/05/2016 hts about leaving Chelsea last year.The midfielder is enjoying career best form this season.”I came to Chelsea at the age of 12, as their scouts spotted me in a small Marseille club,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport magazine SportWeek.“It was very • by RotoWire Staff 12/23/2015 • by RotoWire Staff Juventus has been held up by Chelsea’s demand for compensation.ESPNsays the Blues want Juve to pay £5million to release Sarri from his contract, which will expire at the end of next season.The Serie A giants were hoping Sarri would be released from 07/17/2015 • by Sean D’Oliveira 07/10/2015 • by Jason Lempert


1 side AS Monaco.The 30-year-old joined City from


outfielder assumed his spot atop the batting order for Tuesday’s game against Philadelphia. Pagan was relegated to pinch-hitting duties the past two games as San Francisco remained conservative with his ailing right hamstring.

More News 04/19/2017 • by RotoWire Staff ea’s interest in Atalanta midfielder Ruslan says Chelsea club have set their sights on the 26-year-old who only joined the Italian side in the summer.The Ukrainian was reported to be brought to Chelsea’s attention by former ehind to beat Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday. Alex Tettey put the hosts ahead after 27 minutes, but George Baldock and Enda Stephens scored twicbakary Soumare this month.Despite raising €80m from the sale of Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal, Lille intend to part with midfielder Soumare, says RMC.LOSC are seeking €40m to sell, with plans to also take the youngster back on-loan for the new season.We in the space of three minutes to give Sheffield the lead.The Blades move up into eighth while Nor 03/28/2017 • by RotoWire Staff 03/23/2017 • by RotoWire Staff 10/11/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 10/11/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 10/02/2016 • by RotoWire Staff


y’re thrown out of the Champions League.The Manche


general manager Sandy Alderson said the in first baseman despite a slow start for a second straight season. Davis is batting .172 with a .312 slugging percentage through 27 games.

“I don’t think he’s happy with what has happened to date. We would have hoped for a better performance to this point, but the evidence is he can do it,” Alderson said, per the New their move in the January transfer window.Jose Mourinho’s side have identified Krzysztof Piatek as the man to replace Harry Kane.And The Sun reports that Spurs have secured a £28 million deal with AC Milan to sign the Polish striker.Piatek is avail York Daily News. “Aish partner club.However, he concedes finding the right club is proving difficult.He told BILD: “If we wanted to expand, only one club in club great quit Roma last summer after feeling isolated in his front office role.”My withdrawal was a bit unexpected, but correct. Now I accepted it, but I needed two years, because it was not my decision. In any case, I never regretted my decisionsEngland would make sense. A third tier one like maybe Sunderland or Milton Keynes. “However, problems would arisnd he could do that again this season, we’ll see what transpires. But Ike is a big part of the team. We expect him to come around soon.”

Alderson isn’t the only person backing the struggling Davis. Manager Terry Collins said he will continue to start Davis because he feels a turnaround is also in his future.

“He’s got a track record of doing it,” Collins said. “I know if we keep getting him out there, he’s going to eventually find it.”

Davis appears to have a formula for snapping his prolonged slump.

“Last year I did some things I probably shouldn’t have done early, like I stopped trying to drive the ball and that was my second month (of struggling) so it just got worse,” Davis said. “Finally, I went back to driving the ball. Last year, I didn’t know if it was ever going to stop. But now, I know eventually it’s gonna start happening. I feel like, I am getting better.”

More News 11/06/2018 • by RotoWire Staff 08/15/2017 • by RotoWire Staff 01/27/2017 • by RotoWire Staff 08/10/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 06/25/2016 • by RotoWire Staff 06/22/2016 • by RotoWire Staff


tic striker Chris Sutton.The Northern Irishman has


Do I think Andrew Bailey is good enough to hold off

for the closer role? Yes. But he doesnn why he completed the move.The Swiss international is a free agent and will officially be a Norwich player on July 1.Drmic felt it was time for him to leave the Bundesliga as he feels that he can make the next step in his career.The 26-year-olManchester City midfielder Phil Foden is delighted being part of the senior squad.Foden, 19, joined up with his City team-mates on their Asia pre-season tour after playing for England in the European Under-21s Champihe Evening Chronicle says Alaves want to sign out-of-favour forward Joselu.The La Liga club want ten new arrivals and are ready to make a bid for the United forward and West Ham’s Lucas Perez to bolster their forward line.Coach Asier Garitano has ideonship.He came off the bench in Cid spen’t figure to have the longest leash given that Hanrahan is a proven closer himself.

What would be just a rough patch for most every other closer could be an impetus for the to make a change. Plus, Bailey’s injury history isn’t exactly stellar.

Long story short, if I’m in one of those leagues where saves are unattainable on the waiver wire, I’m holding on to Hanrahan just in case something changes in Boston. I’m not counting on it, but right now, it’s more promising than stashing Kelvin Herrera, Bruce Rondon or Carlos Marmol.


Rafaela wonderkid Matias Godoy.The 17-year-old ha


shortstop is against Miami but is available to pinch-hit or pinch-run, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

Cozart was hit in the fingers on a bunt attempt late in Saturday’s game, but the injury isn’t expected to be serious. X-rays on his hand were negative.

More News 01/15/2020 r Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood has accused several players in the current squad of hiding.Spurs are enduring an extremely difficult start to the season, which has seen some call for the sacking of boss Mauricio Pochettino.But the man who Pochettino re • by RotoWire Staff 01/13/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 12/10/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 11/11/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 07/12/2019 • by Roresident Urbano Cairo admits he overpaid for Simone Verdi.Toro coughed up €22m to sign the winger from Napoli.“We finished seventh and chose Verdi right away,” he told Tuttosport.“I asked Napoli, through my friends Branchih Joe Cole says Liverpool are title favourites.Cole says Manchester City have “weaknesses” that make Liverpool firm favourites for the Premier League title.“I said it a couple of weeks ago, I said this team’s got everything, they’re fully equippeni and De Laurentiis, toWire Staff 06/25/2019 • by RotoWire Staff


eir 4-0 win against Europa League opponents Istanb


second baseman fell Tuesday against the Astros. He finished 3 for 3 with one run, one double and one triple.

Sogard, who has made a team-high 11 starts at second base, is batting .297 (11 for 37) with one RBI and two stolen bases through 12 games.

“It looks like the spring training Sogard, the guy who gets a hit every time up,” manager Bob Melvin said, per the Contra Costa Times. “He got a good at-bat against a left-hander, too. That was good to see.”

More News 03/20/2020 • by RotoWire Staff 02/18/2020 • by RotoWire Staff tletico MadridAntoine Griezmann this summer.The Blues are on the hunt for a big name attacker as they look to find a consistent goalscorer.And Hasselbaink thinks Griezmann is the man to lead the line at Stamford Bridge.Hasselbaink told 12/18/2019 • by RotoWire Staff rested in signing Youri Tielemans.The Red Devils could lose star midfielder Paul Pogba, after the World Cup winner declared his desire to start a “new challenge”.Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would need to replace the 26-year-old, should his wish come true.Ti 10/10/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 10/04/2019 • by RotoWire Staff 10/02/2019 of getting the sack.The Argentine coach has built up a lot of credit at Spurs for their excellent results in recent seasons.He has consistently gotten them into a Champions League position, while they reached the final of that competition last seaso• by RotoWire Staff


nar Solskjaer’s side.Parker was speaking after Uni


outfielder showed up to camp this year with added bulk and it seemed to help him opening day as he hit a home run. While Aoki hit a career-high 20 homers in 2007 while playing in Japan, Aoki said he isn’t about to start swinging for the fences, according to .com.

“I can’t really say,” Aoki said when asked if he thought he’d surpass the 10-homer plateau this season. “I’d like to, but my primary focus is getting on base, because our real home run hitters are the guys behind me.”

More News 01/30/2018 • by RotoWire Staff defensive coach.Benitez says he’s always trying to find the “right balance”.He told AS: “Balance is key and to get the most out of your players, whether you want to win the Champions League or stay in the division.”It depends on the way that someone 10/30/2017 • by RotoWire Staff 09/27/2017 • by RotoWire Staff 09/15/2017 • by RotoWire Staff 09/04/2017 • by RotoWire Staff d to take the Chelsea job if it becomes available. The Derby manager is the favourite to takeover from Maurizio Sarri, who is expected to be allowed to join Juventus.And Redknapp, who is also Lampard’s uncle, thinks Lampard might not get a better opp 09/02/2017 • by Radmits he’s discussed the football director’s job with vice-chairman Ed Woodward.Evra, who was spotted alongside Woodward at a number of matches last season, has confirmed the pair have spoken about the position. He told Sky Sports: “I don’t want to otoWire Staff


Alan Anderson has successful surgery on ankle, out indefinitely


The were hoping to add depth to the wing position after losing in free agency this summer. They made moves for and for depth as they watch continue to develop into a very important role player. But after Dudley had back surgery in July that is supposed to sideline him for 3-4 months, Anderson is also out after his own surgery.

The Wizards announced on Tuesday that Anderson had successful ankle surgery to remove a bony fragment from his left ankle. It’s his second ankle surgery since May to clean up the ankle. He will begin rehab on his ankle immediately, but the team has not determined a timetable for his return. From the Wizards:

The Washington Wizards announced that forward Alan Anderson had successful surgery today to remove a small bony fragment in his left ankle. Anderson underwent left ankle surgery in May to remove bone spurs and was still experiencing pain caused by irritation from the fragment.

The procedure was performed by Dr. David Porter at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.  Anderson will begin the rehab process immediately, but a timeframe for his return has yet to be determined.

This certainly isn’t ideal for the Wizards. You want to have everybody healthy going into the season so you can build continuity with new parts to the rotation. The good news is the Wizards may already have enough depth on the roster to deal with something like this, but Dudley and Anderson did factor into their plans for the rotation heading into this season. With the Wizards potentially turning into a much more modern offense wJonjoe Kenny has no doubts about the wisdom of moving to Schalke.The Everton defender is on a season-long loan.He told BILD: “The Bundesliga is a good placear Neymar returning to Spain.Former club Barcelona and Real Madrid are locked in a battle for the Brazilan’s signature, with PSG football chief Leonardo admitting sale talks are well underway.Asked about Neymar returning to the LaLiga, Tebas told : ” to play. “Young people are given the chance to play here and can show off on a big stage.”My idol? (Philipp) Lahm. He was a handyman, he could play left, right, in the middle. For me, he was always exceptional and the best right-back.”ith wings, interchangeable defenders, and 3-point shas urged Sheffield Wednesday to go Argentine for their next manager.The Sun says he will recommend his Argentinian pal, Nestor Lorenzo, to Sheffield Wednesday.The Tottenham chief is a big ally of the former Colombia assistant coach, who fancies a johooting, Dudley and Anderson help immensely with that idea.

The good news is there is plenty of time for the Wizards to get healthy before the postseason. Hopefully Dudley can be back by December fully healthy and Anderson can fit into the timeframe as well.


Anthony Davis turned down ‘Dancing with the Stars,’ says he ‘can’t dance’


may have some All-Star worthy moves on the basketball court but you probably won’t ever catch ys Villa have shelved plans to sign Galatasaray stopper Christian Luyindama because he ruptured his ACL.A €14m deal was said to be on the table for the 25-year-old ahead of the winter market.But the injury picked up on international duty has seen ihim busting a move on the dance floor. At least that’s what he told .

While hanging out with guard , Davis spoke with TMZ on a number of topics including reality shows like “Dancing with the Stars.” Davis revealed that he actually was invited to be a contestant on the show but turned down the invitation because he didn’t want to embarrass himself.

“I’ve seen a couple of players on ‘Dancing with the Stars,”‘ or just athletes, not rnley defender Ben Gibson is training with former club Middlesbrough today.The Middlesbrough-TODAY-despite-Burnley-contract.html” target=”_blank”>Daily Mail says Gibson was set to begin training at Middlesbrough on Wednesday – even though he is stieven NBA players. I actually got asked to do it, but I can’t dance, so I don’t want to embpa League final triumph over Arsenal on Wednesday night.Chelsea stepped up a gear after halftime to defeat the Gunners 4-1 in Azerbaijan and lift the Europa League trophy for the second time.David Luiz, who was also in the Blues side who previously warrass myself … No, I can’t dance. I would never want to do nothing to embarrass myself. But sometimes, I’ll do something just to have fun.”

Davis is telling the truth, sometimes he will dance just to have fun.

It is too bad that Davis turned down an invite from “Dancing with the Stars,” he clearly has some serious moves.



Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell take first steps in new career


LAS VEGAS — Before the tip-off of their first Summer League game in Las Vegas, the No. 1 and No. 2 picks felt a few jitters. These games don’t count in the grand scheme of NBA careers. Nobody knows how many Summer League games won. Nobody remembers if performed well in his first action on an Summer League court. But first impressions matter, especially in basketball, and everybody wants to show what they’re capable of right away.

For of the and of the , a rarely packed crowd in the Thomas & ilder has hailed the leadership of veteran striker Billy Sharp.The striker, who celebrated his 34th birthday last week, scored in victory over Bournemouth yesterday.”He hasn’t played as much as he would have liked. Off the pitch, he’s been a fantastiMack Center on the UNLV campus provided the buzz and hype for the top two picks in the 2015 facing off against each other. Towns is tasked with helping  try and lead the Wolves back into the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, the longest postseason drought in the current NBA. Russell will be asked to take the torch from Kobe’s hands and become the next great Lakers superstar.

“I ain’t gonna lie,” Towns said about the atmosphere and experience of playing his first Summer League game. “I had a lot of butterflies. I was very nervous. Legs felt heavy. It’s your first game out in front of everyone and you’re just trying to change the tide of the organization, especially being the No. 1 pick. We did a great job as a team taking that first step as a team and making us a winning team.”

Towns is very aware of the pressures of the top pick in the NBA Draft. He mentions it in several answers, and gets out in front of the hype and expectations attached to such an honor. That won’t stop the hype and expectations from heaping onto what’s assumed he’ll be able to do, which is eventually get the Wolves back to the playoffs. And perhaps the jitters and nervousness that come along with this NBA existence will peek through from tillapse at Manchester United last night.Both teams have reached the Europa League round of 32, though Slot was angry after their 4-0 reverse.“An annoying phase after halftime? That is an understatement,” snapped Slot, as United fired three goals homme to time.

His first shot of his first Summer League game was a 3-pointer he didn’t even really want to shoot. It was a moment of embarrassment, but it was something that ended up getting him comfortable on the court. From there, he was trying to figure out ways to secure a meaningless win, except the wins in any setting all have meaning to Towns. They have to if you’re going to build something in Minnesota.

“We went out there as a team and we wanted to come away with the W,” Towns said following his team’s 81-68 victory. “We all contributed in great ways today. For a lot of people, they don’t see a lot of W’s from the Minnesota Timberwolves, but today, it’s a W you can see. It’s a start.”

His line (12 points, three rebounds, four assists and nine fouls) was mostly a small splash on the box score, but the lessons were plentiful for his first experience. Playing against players like ,  and Robert Upshaw showed him the physicality and the craftiness he has to start preparing for and reacting to on the court. He felt double teams and used patience for finding teammates. He felt the pressure applied from the defender and started learning where he could hurt his opponent in the post as he countered it.

Towns also started to learn the pace of the game being asked to play 32 minutes, as opposed to the 19 or 20-minute platoon stints he used at Kentucky, where he didn’t have to play long, consecutive stretches too often. He started learning the process of what it takes to play without fouling and leading a team on both ends of the floor, no matter hod be expected that it’s taking time for the players to adjust to coach Maurizio Sarri’s system.Sarri took charge this season after five years of Max Allegri at Juve.“There were some tactical certainties we could rely on after five years with Allegrw big or small the stakes.

For D’Angelo Russell, he mostly felt out the game early on and never quite pounced on his opportunity to take over. With by his side, he didn’t necessarily have to feel like the game was in need of being taken over at key stretches. He relied on Clarkson’s experience to be the scoring threat, and he tried to get everybody involved in the point guard role. Russell walked away thinking about the mistakes he made and the lessons you learn immediately in a pseudo-NBA environment.

“I had a lot of mental mistakes,” Russell said after the loss. “Not paying attention to my guy, sleeping a bit on defense. Just little things you can do in college that you can’t do in the pros. Just adjusting. Ball-watching on defense, guys go backdoor at this level.”

One thing that was evident from Russell’s early moments and overall play on the court was he likes to move the ball. That will be a key trait to possess when playing with scorers like Kobe and  Russell maybe fed into the mostly pro-Lakers crowd a little too much and tried to put a little extra on some passes that ended up missing their intended targets. But he was also putting on a show and trying to catch the defense off-guard.

He’ll play a lot of point guard or lead guard, but the objective will be to earn the trust of the playmaking duties with Bryant watching him and judging his ability to hang on the court. Once that happens, he’ll be asked to make plays for others and then himself to keep the defense off-balance. The flair for the spectacular will become routine plays, and his star will shine brightly like the other incredible lead guards.

However, he can’t take shortcuts in the process. That won’t be allowed with Kobe and the Lakers needing so much of the present and future to come from his play. And messing up in early exhibitions like this reminds him he has a long way to go before fulfilling that destiny. He also recognizes how good the core around him can be and what that will mean for rebuilding the Lakers into the respectable, storied franchise most of us are accustomed to seeing from them.

“I feel like we’ve got a scary core,” Russell beamed when talking about his teammates.

Both teams have the core of a future you can get behind. They started to show why they’re so important to that core, and that if the early mistakes can be curbed, the enthusiasm for their respective futures will be endless.


Wall, Beal say they’re best backcourt because they play both ends


guards and , and inevitably came up. Unsurprisingly, Wall and Beal did not back down from their previous assertions on the subject, even when guards and ‘s names were mentioned. Here’s the exchange:

Walfuted the idea that he has lost his passion for winning trophies.Ozil has been in-and-out of the Gunners team this season under Unai Emery.And many fans believe that after signing a bumper new contract, he is not as motivated as he was before.But Ozil and Beal, simultaneously: “We are.”

Wall: “We are.”

Beal: “We are.”

Beal: “Both ends.”

Wall: “Both ends. We play both ends of the court.”

Beal: “We’re just competitive.”

Wall: “We take nothing away from them, but we just feel like we’re the best. I’m never going to say anybody’s better.”

It’s not worth having the whole debate again, but their explanation is interesting, especially with how the season has started. Through eight games, Washington is 21st in Frank Lampard was delighted with the character shown for their 2-1 Champions League defeat of Lille.Cesar Azpilicueta and Tammy Abraham struck for Chelsea, who survived a late Lille comeback via former Blue Loic Remy. Chelsea are now into the round odefensive rating, giving up 104.1 points per 100 possessions. and called them “soft.” Wall is viewed as one of the best dits he found himself questioning the professionalism of Real Madrid star Eden Hazard when they were teammates at Chelsea.Luis left Atletico Madrid this summer to return home to Brazil at Flamengo.And he recalled to YouTube channel ‘2AngryMen TV’ thatefenders in the league at his position, but Beal is not necessarily seen the same way yet. 

The Warriors, meanwhile, are once again dominating teams at both ends of the court. Curry is not on Wall’s level defensively, but he is not a liability anymore, either. Thompson’s size and smarts make him one of the best defensive shooting guards in the league, and he’s versatile enough to guard point guards and small forwards. It’s Wall and Beal’s prerogative, to call themselves the best, but this particular statement is not looking accurate at the moment.