August 18, 2022

Happy Thursday, everyone. Hope you’re well.

Let’s get right to it.

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Good morning to everyone but especially to…


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THE COLORADO AVALANCHE

The Avalanche will play for the Stanley Cup tomorrow night in front of their home fans, thanks to the heroics of a guy who hadn’t even played in over two weeks. Nazem Kadri snuck a shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy more than halfway through overtime to give Colorado an exhilarating 3-2 win and a 3-1 series lead overall.

  • Tampa Bay’s Anthony Cirelli opened the scoring just 36 seconds into the game. In the second period, Nathan MacKinnon evened things up on the power play, but Victor Hedman gave the hosts the lead entering the third period.
  • Andrew Cogliano tied it at two early in the third period, and in the extra period, Kadri — playing in his first game since Game 3 of the Western Conference Final due to a thumb injury — scored the game-winner.
  • If the result had gone the other way, Vasilevskiy would have been the story. He stopped 34 shots, numerous in spectacular fashion. Darcy Kuemper was outstanding in the Colorado net with 37 saves.

This is the 37th time a team has taken a 3-1 series lead in a Stanley Cup Final. Thirty-five of the previous 36 to do so went on to hoist the Cup. All eyes will be on Colorado when the Cup is in the building on Friday night.

Honorable mentions

Happy NBA Draft day! Here’s everything you need to know 🏀

The NBA certainly doesn’t waste any time: Exactly one week after the Golden State Warriors became NBA champions, the NBA Draft will take place tonight in New York.

The debate for the No. 1 pick has been heated, and we’re still not 100% sure which way it will go, but our experts made their cases for four candidates: Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith and Jaden Ivey. The most popular pick may surprise you. 

Here’s NBA reporter Colin Ward-Henninger’s take:

  • Ward-Henninger: Holmgren’s upside is a notch above. Smith lacks playmaking potential — Holmgren can blossom beautifully in that department. Banchero’s suspect as a 3-point shooter and on defense — Holmgren has a sweet stroke and is one of the best rim-protecting prospects we’ve ever seen. … He’s already proven that he can perform at the highest levels of amateur basketball, and he also has the most room to improve of any of the top three prospects.”

However, it’s not Holmgren who’s atop draft expert Kyle Boone’s latest mock draft.

  • Boone: “There’s at least *some* concern over the diversity with which Smith will score in the NBA — he struggled at the rim in college and primarily was used as a catch-and-shoot weapon — but his positional size and above average shooting are among the most translatable skills a prospect has in this class. At 6-10 he’s an elite shooting threat from anywhere on the court and a very safe bet to be a valuable two-way player in the NBA.”

Here’s Kyle’s entire top five.

  • 1. Magic: Jabari Smith, SF, Auburn
  • 2. Thunder: Chet Holmgren, C, Gonzaga
  • 3. Rockets: Paolo Banchero, PF, Duke
  • 4. Kings: Jaden Ivey, SG, Purdue
  • 5. Pistons: Keegan Murray, PF, Iowa

While the top of the draft naturally gets the most attention, I love diving deeper into the draft, because teams can find key pieces there. The Warriors got major contributions from Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney and Gary Payton II during their title run; all four were drafted 28th or later or, in Payton II’s case, weren’t drafted at all. So be sure to take a look at our experts’ thoughts on post-lottery picks who could be stars, second-round steals and undrafted rookies who could still make rosters.

As for everything else…

Jerami Grant traded from Pistons to Trail Blazers 🏀


USATSI

On NBA Draft eve, we got a big trade from one of this offseason’s most sought-after players: Jerami Grant is headed to the Trail Blazers. Here are the details:

Trail Blazers receive:

  • SF Jerami Grant
  • 2022 46th overall pick via Detroit

Pistons receive:

  • 2022 36th overall pick via Portland
  • 2025 first-round pick via Milwaukee (protected Nos. 1-4)
  • 2025 second-round pick via Portland
  • 2026 second-round pick (better selection between Portland and New Orleans)
  • $21 million trade exception

Grant averaged 9.3 points per game over his first six seasons and then jumped up to 22.3 in 2020-21, his first season in Detroit (he played in just 47 games due to a calf strain. At 28 and entering the final year of his contract, Grant didn’t quite fit Detroit’s rebuild timeline, and that’s to Portland’s benefit, NBA expert Jack Maloney wrote in his trade grades.

The Blazers might not be done, either.

Snyder to be subpoenaed; Goodell testifies regarding Commanders’ workplace environment 🏈


USATSI

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee yesterday regarding the Commanders‘ workplace environment — including women’s accusations of sexual harassment by team executives — under team owner Daniel Snyder.

Snyder was not at the hearing, but committee chairwoman Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) said she will issue a subpoena for Snyder to testify next week.

  • Goodell said he does not have the authority to remove Snyder as owner. That would require 24 of the 32 owners voting to remove him. He also countered Maloney’s claim that Snyder hasn’t been held accountable for his alleged role in Washington’s workplace environment, saying Snyder has not attended recent owner meetings or been involved with the Commanders’ day-to-day operations.
  • Maloney revealed that the committee “uncovered evidence that Mr. Snyder conducted a shadow investigation to target his accusers, pin the blame on others, and influence the NFL’s own internal review.”
  • She also said the committee’s investigation “confirmed the Commanders secretly created lewd videos of cheerleaders for the private enjoyment of Daniel Snyder.”

The franchise was fined $10 million and Snyder stepped down from day-to-day operations last July following Beth Wilkinson’s investigation of the team’s workplace. The report, however, has been kept private, to the dismay of those representing former team employees. In February, the U.S. House Oversight Committee demanded the NFL release findings of the investigation, a demand to which Goodell has repeatedly declined to accede, citing the privacy of former employees.

Rest in peace, Tony Siragusa and Jaylon Ferguson


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There’s been two more shocking deaths in the sports world. Tony Siragusa, who played a dozen seasons in the NFL and spent over a dozen more as a broadcaster, died at 55 yesterday.

  • Siragusa started his career with the Colts, whom he played for from 1990-1996. He played for the Ravens from 1997-2001, winning the Super Bowl in the 2000 season.
  • Siragusa then spent 2003-2015 as a sideline analyst for FOX. Known for his humor as a player and broadcaster, he earned the affectionate nickname “the Goose.” Here’s how former teammates and NFL figures reacted to the news.
  • The cause of death was not immediately known.

It was not the only loss for the Ravens franchise: 26-year-old linebacker Jaylon Ferguson died late Tuesday night, the team announced yesterday morning.

  • Ferguson was a third-round pick out of Louisiana Tech in 2019.
  • Ferguson holds the FBS record with 45 career sacks; he won C-USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2018.
  • He appeared in 38 games for Baltimore, recording 67 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
  • Police said there were no signs of trauma or foul play. The cause of death is currently unknown.

What we’re watching Thursday 📺

🏀 NBA Draft, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN/ABC
🏀 Fever at Wings, 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
🏀 Mystics at Storm, 10 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

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