We'll get to the suddenly surging Cincinnati Reds in a minute, but the morning belongs to Jacob Evans.
I wrote a piece this morning for The Athletic about Evans being drafted to the Golden State Warriors, and why he and his new team are such a good fit. The main premise is that a team that really only needs someone that can make outside shots and play some defense just drafted a guy that can make outside shots and play some defense.
Mike DeCourcy wrote about Evans and the Warriors, and put it best...
The best team in the NBA just got better. Again.
It was a great night for Jacob Evans. It was a very good night for the Warriors. It was a significant night for UC basketball as well, even if Gary Clark wasn't taken in either round, ultimately signing a two-way deal with the Rockets. Evans became the first Bearcat to have his name called during round one in 13 years. Maybe this won't begin a surge of higher-end recruits coming to Clifton to play for the school that produced Jacob Evans, but it sure can't hurt.
More than anything though, I'm excited for Jacob, a player who drifted into the background during his UC career, often because it seemed like he preferred it that way. But despite his somewhat lower profile - and an at-times maddening unwillingness to be more aggressive on offense - he's been a big, big part of his team's overall success, he's represented himself and the program well, and I can't wait to root for him and his team 80 times a year.
As for Gary...his lack of size at his position worked against him in the draft, which was to be expected. There's a lengthy list of great college players that were overlooked and bypassed by NBA teams in the draft that ultimately have gone on to having long, productive careers. I understand the odds Gary is facing.
I'm not betting against him.
Here's some stuff...
Reds win! Again!! Three things mattered last night...
*Matt Harvey looked as good and as comfortable as I've seen him since he joined the Reds. Maybe it was a one-off performance before he goes back to pitching the way he has for three years. Maybe he's turned the corner. We're nearing the deadline though, and the only way the Reds are able to get a deal done is if the Matt Harvey that threw six good innings last night appears a few more times in the coming weeks.
*Jesse Winker's grand slam. Whatever message management was trying to deliver when it was announced that Winker was being benched a few weeks ago was apparently heard. He's hitting .280 in June, he's getting on base, he's flashed some power, and he's held his own with his glove, making a nice running catch last night in right field. His one poor month seemed to send his stock plummeting because people are stupid.
*Amir Garrett whiffed Anthony Rizzo (there's a great piece by C. Trent Rosecrans on how he did it) with the bases loaded to end the seventh. There's understandably a lot of discussion about the way the Reds are using Amir, and it makes sense to wonder whether he'll get a chance to start again and how he'll fare if he does.
The bigger thing, though, is that a guy who seemed like an afterthought this offseason has pitched himself into a definitive role on this team moving forward. We really weren't sure four months ago whether Amir Garrett could succeed in any big league capacity. Now, we at least know that he can do something - something important, by the way - successfully.
Also...Hi, Nick Senzel.
On the NBA Draft. As a Knicks fan, I wanted Mikal Bridges, I would've talked myself into Michael Porter, and I would've understood why they'd want to draft Kevin Knox. He's less NBA ready than the players who bookended him in the draft - Collin Sexton of Alabama was chosen by Cleveland just before Knox went to New York, and Bridges was taken by his hometown Philly team, who almost immediately traded him to Phoenix (which didn't make sense) - but the Knicks have time. They're likely tanking next season as they wait for Kristaps Porzingis to recover from his knee injury, and they desperately need a higher pick in next year's draft than the ninth choice they had last night. They're approaching being in decent salary cap position next summer, and long term, Knox projects as a versatile offensive player that will be able to score in a bunch of different ways while carrying a frame that's prototypical for today's NBA. Porter was the high-ceiling pick, but the high-risk one. The Knicks could not afford to mess this pick up, which means they had to pass on the risks that Porter carried with him, even if they'll one day regret it.
Also...Tell me all you want about the way basketball is played in this day and age, and how outside shooting and small-ball rule. I'll tell you that no matter what the current NBA trends are, there will always be room for physical specimens like DeAndre Ayton. And teams will always covet someone that can score from close to the rim.
I'll spare you any links today. I'm tapped out. The radio show is back on Monday.