Happy Friday, everyone! I know, even though I’m not part of the usual WWW rotation, this is my second one in three days, what the heck is going on, right?
My WFNY NFL Mock Draft Roundup that was considered Wednesday’s WWW will likely run almost every Wednesday leading up to the draft in late April and for this morning, I generously asked Craig if I could take his spot simply because I wanted to talk about Thursday’s NBA All-Star Draft, LeBron James, and college football recruiting class rankings. So here I am.
Hope everyone is staying warm, especially those in northeast Ohio. On Thursday it was nearly 60 degrees and was even in the mid-to-high 50s at 10 p.m. ET Thursday night, which seemingly marked the end of several spring-like days. It was actually nice to be outside after all of those Polar Vortex days last week. Then at 4 a.m. ET this morning, it was 27 degrees (feels like seven degrees) and it’s expected to stay around the low 20s all day. It’s winter so that cold weather is expected (and at least it’s not negative wind chill), but the fact that it was nearly a 33-degree difference in about a six-hour span is crazy, to say the least.1 At least it’s almost the weekend, right?
Alright, back to talking about something that’s actually useful and sports related, which the title of this story states.
There weren’t any Cleveland Cavaliers selected as All-Stars this season, but that doesn’t mean that the All-Star Game and everything surrounding it can’t still be fun and entertaining. Last year, the NBA made a smart move by allowing the top vote-getters in the East and West to be team captains. Those captains would then have a back-and-forth draft, selecting their respective teams from the pool of players that were named All-Stars.
Last year, the draft was done privately. After so many people, players and fans alike, wanted to All-Star Draft to be televised, the NBA decided to do so this season. It was awesome.
LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were the captains this time. The Greek Freak is an outstanding, generational-type player, but I truly didn’t know his sense of humor until watching Thursday night’s draft.2 Here are the two best parts involving him, in case you didn’t watch it or didn’t see the highlights:
"Isn't that tampering?" 😂
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 8, 2019
I know, many Cleveland fans have their own opinions about LeBron. Some love him (and will always love him) because he led the Cavs to a championship, ending the 52-year drought in Cleveland on that special June 19, 2016 night. Others don’t like him because he left again. With that said, let’s take a step back just for a second, even if it’s just while reading this article.
We all know about LeBron’s desire to bring All-NBA talent to Los Angeles, turning the Lakers into a legitimate contender. We also know that No. 23 isn’t shy about who he wants his team to trade for, whether he will actually admit it or not.
So let’s take a look at LeBron’s first six picks in the draft:
Notice a trend?
While LeBron also selected KD first overall in 2018, some people may link it to him wanting Durant to decline his player option with Golden State and sign with the Lakers this offseason.
Kyrie Irving? Unless you’ve been hiding behind a rock, I’m sure you’ve heard about how LeBron and Uncle Drew have rekindled their relationship, one that many believed was suspect in Cleveland, which led to Kyrie wanting to be traded. There’s a chance that Kyrie could be LeBron’s point guard next year in LA, just like he was with the wine and gold.
Kawhi Leonard has been rumored to want to go to Los Angeles. Although reports have stated that he would want to join the Clippers over the Lakers, maybe this is LeBron’s first shot of recruiting him.
LeBron is known for being passive aggressive and subtweets. He knows what he is doing with every single word that he tweets and thing that he says. This draft could just be another statement. Either way, at least it was fun.
There’s nothing worth noting on Harden. He and Kemba Walker were the last two starters left, so choosing The Beard was somewhat obvious.
Then there’s The Unibrow. We all know about this past week and everything that has gone down since AD requested a trade from the Pelicans. While he will have to wait until the offseason to get traded, LeBron selecting him with his first pick among reserves sure was something, and it also led to that funny moment that I already showed in the video above.
Last but certainly not least, the Splash Brother. LeBron loves his shooters and needs one in LA. While Thompson reportedly would want to join the Lakers if they acquire Davis, it’s worth noting that he could still decide to join LeBron if the Warriors don’t offer him the max.
So, five of LeBron’s first six picks weren’t just great players, but they may have been proving a point as well. No. 23 does always know what he’s doing. 3
Class rankings matter, don’t get me wrong. Whether it’s basketball or football, the top college teams in the country tend to be the best teams in the country year in and year out. There’s a reason teams such as Alabama, Clemson, and Georgia seem to always be among the best classes in the country every year in football. The same can be said for basketball teams such as Duke and Kentucky, among others.
With that said, class rankings don’t always tell the whole story. Some members of Buckeye Nation seemed to make a big deal out of first-year head coach Ryan Day’s first recruiting class only being ranked the No. 14 class in the country and the third-best in the Big Ten, according to 247Sports composite rankings. It’s the lowest-ranked class for the Buckeyes since 2010, when Jim Tressel’s Ohio State team had the 18th-ranked class in the country.
But how are they so low, right? There’s a reason; one that many don’t seem to be talking about. It’s simply because Ohio State only has 17 commits in this cycle, which is due to the scarlet and gray not losing that many players from this past season and being at the 85-player scholarship limit. Every other team ranked ahead of them has at least 21 commits, including No. 1-ranked Alabama (27), No. 8 Michigan (26), and No. 10 Clemson (29).
Class rankings simply go by total points, which are totaled by each individual commit’s points added together. So obviously, the fewer commits you have, the lower your total will be.
If you were to completely base class rankings on average points per commit, the Buckeyes (91.87) would have the third-best class, only behind Alabama (94.38) and Georgia (93.32). Pound-for-pound, Ohio State has one of the best classes in the country. That says a lot, right?
Day may have lost a few commitments following Urban Meyer’s retirement and that was somewhat expected after losing one of the best coaches in college football history, but Day’s superb first recruiting class as the head coach shouldn’t go unnoticed. Don’t let the class rankings bother you, average points per commit are what’s most important.
“We’re very, very excited about all the players that we signed. I think this class would rank top-five nationally when grading the individual player, not cumulatively,” Day said on National Signing Day Wednesday. “We don’t lose a lot of seniors this year, and so within the 85 scholarships, there’s really not that many spots and limited room. So when you look at the quality of the player, and obviously we’ll talk about the student-athlete, as well, how important it is, we think we’re as good as we’ve ever been.”
With that said, Day and company still have plenty to work on. Ohio State’s 2017 and 2018 recruiting classes were the highest average player ratings in the history of recruiting rankings for any team in the country. But so far, so good.
Add in that quarterback transfer Justin Fields — the No. 2 overall prospect in the 2018 class and highest-rated player in Ohio State history — is essentially part of the 2019 class and that makes it even better. The Buckeyes are doing just fine and Day and his new-look coaching staff are a huge reason why that’s the case.
Hope everyone has a great Friday and weekend!