Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Durant, Detroit Tigers, and Williams sisters

Most think Golden State's acquisition of Kevin Durant make them a lock to win next year's NBA title. They might well be right. After all, the Warriors made it all the way to the Finals THIS year and were up 3-1 on Cleveland before Lebron and the Cavs came roaring back. Adding a superstar like Durant to an already formidable team would seem to be a no-brainer.


The Warriors had to get rid of three players to make salary cap room for Durant. And those three -- Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut, and Festus Ezuli -- logged a lot of minutes. While GS opted for shock and awe power in their starting line-up, they also sacrificed depth. And as great as Durant may be, he can only take up one spot on the floor at a time. Further, he can't play every minute of every game. He's going to have to sit for a breather here and there. Further yet, how the whole "chemistry" thing works out remains to be seen.

Dropping a mega-talent onto a team that already has a few others doesn't always pay off immediately. Remember when Lebron left Cleveland for the Miami Heat to join Wade and Bosh several years back. Though they made the Finals their first year together, they were also bounced by the Dallas Mavericks once they got there. And there's the tricky part. Durant signed a two year deal but the second year is a player option. If the Warriors don't pull off a championship next year, KD could bolt and go yet somewhere else. To boot, sources are saying Dwyane Wade has become unhappy with the Miami Heat. So what might happen if he rejoins Lebron in Cleveland?  True, the Cavs would have to shed a few players of their own, but a Finals rematch would become even more likely, and GS might not be the lock they appear to be now. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

The Detroit Tigers offer up an unusual statistic. Currently, they're 7 1/2 games back of the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. Might as well call it eight (they've played one more game and lost it). Amazingly, Cleveland has played Detroit 11 times so far this year -- and won all of them. So against all other competition the Tigers are actually 3 games better than the Indians. A local sports columnist recently cited the "ABC" factor when it came to the Tigers. All But Cleveland. How right he was. Very strange stuff.

In this year's Wimbledon tennis tournament, both Serena and Venus Williams have made it to the semi-finals. Though few notice it at the time, the way the tournament is seeded before it ever starts can make a difference as it winds down to the end. Of course, Serena would be seeded #1 going in, but Venus' spot is pretty much at the whim of the tournament officials. There's not a whole heck of a lot of difference between players ranked, say, #6 and # 10 in the world. But exactly where they slot Venus before the tourney starts will determine whether or not the sisters can meet each other in the finals, or have to square off in the semis.

In years past, their father has strongly protested when one of his daughters had to eliminate the other before the finals. If the tournament organizers want to eliminate the possibility of an all Williams finals, it's as easy as sliding Venus up or down a spot in the brackets.

Turns out this year, daddy might get his wish. Their semi final matches are against other players. True, when it gets down to the final four, everybody's really good and there's no guarantee either S or V will move on.

But at least we won't hear any more whining over some kind of self-perceived prejudice out of the old man this year. Dude needs to shut up.

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