I watched Michigan State forward Jaren Jackson several times during the 2017-18 college basketball season and remember thinking that he was a “beast” who could excel at the next level. When preparing for this post, I was shocked to learn that he only averaged 11 points and 6 rebounds per game last year. Jackson averaged 3 blocks per game during the season and had seven games with at least 5 blocks so perhaps I based my impression on a limited sample size. As someone who finds truth in numbers, I give Jackson an above-average chance of becoming a bust.
As an international prodigy, Luka Doncic signed his first professional contract at the age of 13. Doncic won numerous “Rising Star” and “Best Young Star” awards before getting recognized as the best player outside of the United States by winning the 2018 Euroleague MVP and leading his team to the 2018 Euroleague title. With these credentials, Doncic became the most anticipated international player to come to the NBA since 2003 #2 overall pick Darko Milicic. Whereas Milicic became a bust, Doncic will avoid the same fate. As the most proven player in the 2018 NBA Draft, I give him the lowest probably of becoming a bust relative to the top 10 overall picks.
Marvin Bagley III capped off an impressive freshman year at Duke by earning ACC Player-of-the-Year and consensus 1st Team All-American honors. Based on his accomplishments, he deserved to be considered as the top pick of the 2018 NBA Draft. However, that distinction went to Arizona center Deandre Ayton instead. With the 2nd overall pick, the Sacramento Kings couldn’t pass on the former Blue Devil power forward. Given his size and skill set, Bagley should be able to avoid becoming a bust. I just worry his performance might suffer when he doesn’t get the recognition he craves playing in the shadow of nearby stars Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. Oh yeah, there’s also a guy named LeBron who just took his talents to the same state.
The Phoenix Suns selected Deandre Ayton with the #1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Based on their proximity, teams scouts had plenty of opportunities to watch Ayton play for the Arizona Wildcats last year. Given everything I’ve seen, I have no basis to second guess the pick. As detailed in the following post, I give the 2018 consensus 1st Team All-American a very low probably of becoming a Top 10 Bust.
Based on the overwhelming fan support Serena Williams received during the 2018 U.S. Open, this post will not be well liked. I certainly cannot deny Serena’s dominance of women’s tennis over the last 20 years. Of note, she impressively has won almost 30% of all Grand Slams contested since her first title at the 1999 U.S. Open. At the same time, an objective observer cannot deny that the younger Williams sister has a bad temper. She has proven to be an accomplished athlete who serves as an inspiration to many. Still, I have nominated her as a T10B Busted nominee because of the excuses she has given to defend her lack of decorum on the court.
In the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterbacks went with four of the top 10 overall picks for the first time in history. As a result, draft pundits will evaluate this year’s draft class based on the success or failure of QBs Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen. Running back Shaquon Barkley certainly will be part of the conversation, but likely in reference to how he performs relative to the three QBs taken after him. Hopefully, linebacker Shaquem Griffin is not just a footnote and gets remembered for having a successful NFL career despite missing his left hand. It’ll be at least five years before I can definitively declare any Top 10 Busts. In the meantime, I’ll offer my assessment of the early favorites.
After a two-week investigation into Urban Meyer’s handling of domestic violence allegations against former Assistant Coach Zach Smith, THE Ohio State University announced a 3-game suspension for its head football coach. Meyer’s actions (or inactions) apparently didn’t elevate to a fireable offense. At the same time, OSU President Michael Drake believed the head coach deserved to be punished. Following an 11-hour closed-door meeting during which the Board of Trustees decided his fate, Meyer spoke to the press. He certainly missed the mark by failing to show remorse or offer a sincere apology. In response, numerous ESPN “reporters” argued that Meyer deserved to be fired. When will the network learn that its role is reporting and not creating news.
Sabermetics has taken over how baseball teams are constructed, how games are managed, and how players are evaluated. Whereas stats like HRs, RBIs and BA used to delineate players, MLB general managers now seem to be obsessed with stats like OBP, OPS, and WAR. I fully appreciate the importance of statistics when evaluating players, but I question the current over-reliance on them. In this post, I hope to discount the importance of wins above replacement (WAR) when evaluating greatness.
Heading into the 2018 NBA Draft, the prohibitive favorite as the #1 pick is Arizona’s Deandre Ayton. From there, the likely #2 to #4 picks are Duke’s Marvin Bagley, Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson and international phenom Luka Doncic, respectively. Despite any excitement surrounding these players, the free agency of LeBron James and trade request by Kawhi Leonard will dominate fan interest going into the 2018-19 NBA season. This year’s draft lacks a guaranteed superstar so each and every team should be willing to use their picks to get into the James/Leonard sweepstakes. I don’t have the foresight to predict all of the possible iterations so I’ll simply offer my 2018 NBA Mock Draft based on the current draft position of each team.
With respect to quarterbacks, the 1983 and 1999 draft classes stand out among the rest. Of note, a record six QBs went in the 1st round of the 1983 NFL Draft. Furthermore, teams took QBs with the first three and five of the top 12 overall picks in the 1999 NFL Draft. I believe the 2018 draft class will join these others in the record books based on the fervor surrounding this year’s crop of signal callers. Specifically, I predict that teams will use the top four 2018 draft picks on quarterbacks. Let the games begin!