Gallant’s Random Thoughts: NBA Overreactions, Draft Takes, & Rivalries

By Paul Gallant, SportsRadio 610

Paul Gallant talks Sports, Pop Culture, and other stuff every Thursday. Here are some of his random thoughts

OVERDONE OVERREACTIONS

In this Rockets – Spurs series, I’ve gone from “Yeah, Rockets have no chance” to “Wow, the old ass Spurs are toast!” and ultimately “Yeah I don’t know what the f*ck I’m talking about” land. So let me start by apologizing for being an incredibly basic sports radio host.

It’s impossible to have a real feel for a series featuring 2 20 point blowouts. The only takeaway I’m 100% sure of? I no longer fear Lamarcus Aldridge. And that Tony Parker – who actually looked like his old self Wednesday night – getting injured (ruptured quad, out for playoffs) is a huge blow for San Antonio.

The Rockets have shown us just how good they can be twice this postseason, both times in game 1. But the rest of the playoffs? They’ve been underwhelming, sloppy, and playing down to the competition. You can’t do that last thing against the Spurs, which showed when the Rockets played their worst fourth quarter of the playoffs by far on Wednesday (They’d actually won every quarter before).

I’m concerned about what happened in the fourth quarter. The Rockets won that series against a clearly inferior Thunder team by attrition. Based off of game 1, I thought they’d be able to do the same thing by outrunning and outlasting San Antonio. As stated before, clearly I know nothing. You’re welcome for the 4 paragraph explanation.

DRAFT GRADES ARE DUMB

“OH HEY GUYS, IT’S ME. GENERIC COLUMNIST. I KNOW YOU REALLY ENJOYED MY LAST POST, MOCK DRAFT 7.0. BUT GUESS WHAT! I’VE GOT BRAND NEW DRAFT GRADES FOR ALL 32 TEAMS BASED OFF MY OWN OPINIONS AND SEVERAL OTHER DRAFT GRADE COLUMNS FOR YOU! YEAH, THESE GUYS HAVEN’T EVEN SIGNED CONTRACTS YET, BUT I AM A POWERFUL MAGICIAN AND KNOW MY SH*T! SLIDESHOWS!”

Mock Drafts are a waste of time. For the reader. And especially the writer. But Draft GRADES? They’re so pointless. How can you know how successful a rookie will be RIGHT AFTER THE DRAFT? Especially when half the people that actually make posts like this know well less than 50% of the players they’re talking about?

PS, You can’t.

The one thing you can do after a draft? Get a feel for the plans of a franchise. So let’s look at the rest of the Texans’ picks and the AFC South.

The theme of the Texans draft after Deshaun Watson (by the way, yay)? Size.

– Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham (6’3, 234 lbs) gives you some speed and athleticism at a position that hasn’t had enough of it . . . at least when it comes to matching up with tight ends and running backs. He was a unanimous 1st team All American, led the SEC in tackles (and apparently missed tackles) which tells you that he flies to the ball all over the field

– Texas RB D’Onta Foreman (6’0, 233 lbs) THEORETICALLY gives you the big, short yardage, red zone battering ram you’ve always wanted. Sorry Alfred Blue.

– Bucknell OT Julien Davenport (6’7, 318 lbs) is HUGE. He has an 87.5 inch wing span, had the longest arms at the Senior Bowl (36 inches), and is NBA player Michael Kidd Gilchrist’s cousin. Bill O’Brien thinks he can be a left tackle some day. Will he play his first year? Not a lot of competition at tackle right now.

– Clemson DE Carlos Watkins (6’3, 309 lbs) is also a big body. He had 10.5 sacks last season. Not bad for a large human.

– Oregon State CB Treston Decoud (6’2, 206 lbs) is easily taller than Johnathan Joseph (5’11), Kareem Jackson (5’10), and Kevin Johnson (a short 6’0). That length could make him a safety (the Texans still need help there) or a guy who can have more success against jump balls and throws down field.

– Baylor C Kyle Fuller (6’5, 307 lbs) is also massive. And has 34 inch arms. Ginormous for a center.

I’d be crazy to say I know how these guys will pan out. But they took at least one player for just about every hole they have except at safety.

Now, the rest of the AFC South and their plans

– I really like what the Colts are doing. They have a weak offensive line, no running game, and a quarterback who is perhaps the world’s most careless nerd. But they’ve gone ALL IN on making their defense tough, which is honestly something I can’t remember being said about Indy’s D IN MY LIFETIME. They added bargain guys with high upside like John Simon (drat) and Jabaal Sheard this offseason. And in the draft, they added a playmaking safety (Malik Hooker, Ohio State), a cornerback from a school that’s a traditional pipeline for cornerbacks (Quincy Wilson, Florida), plus 2 defensive linemen, another cornerback, and a linebacker.

– I think I understand what the Jaguars are doing.

Well hang on. They’re picking up Blake Bortles’ fifth year option. Hahaha.

But based off of Jacksonville’s first 2 picks, it looks like they’re trying to copy the Panthers and Texans strategy: running the ball way too much. LSU running back Leonard Fournette needs that offensive line to improve (as does Bortles), so taking Auburn tackle Cam Robinson (he’s supposedly “mean” on the field. RAWR) early in the 2nd round could be the key to fixing that issue.

Everyone NFL analyst and their mother will tell you that the Jaguars don’t have a whole lot of holes after the quarterback and offensive line. We’ll see if that is FINALLY the actual case.

– I’m not an expert. I don’t know much about these prospects. And everyone loves Tennessee GM Jon Robinson. But I’m not feeling their early draft.

They took a wide receiver 5th, which they definitely needed. But they took Corey Davis from Western Michigan over Clemson’s Mike Williams? Really?

Williams reminded me of former Texas A&M Mike Evans (now a Buccaneer) in his final season with Johnny Manziel. And just like Evans bailed Manziel out on some of his hero tosses, Williams bailed out the occasional Deshaun Watson throw (try not to freak out Texans fans).

They also could have gone after a defensive back.  Why not LSU’s Jamal Adams (who went to the Jets)? Or another cornerback? After all, this is a team that actually started Perrish Cox last season (bad idea).

With their second first round pick, the Titans took smaller corner Adoree’ Jackson. There’s your defensive back. And in the third, they gave Marcus Mariota some more weapons (a wide receiver and tight end). But I think they could have done better.

MEH, NOT A REAL RIVALRY

Benches clearing in baseball? Awesome. There isn’t enough hate in the sport. Just monotony, “respecting the game”, and a bunch of other stuff that the olds love.

Baseball hasn’t had many good rivalries since the early 2000s with the Red Sox and Yankees. This year? You’ve got two examples of two teams not liking each other (Boston and Baltimore the other). It’s GREAT for baseball. Hot take alert! Baseball is like marriage. If you love it, you’re in it for the long haul. Yep, even when it’s boring. So how do you keep things like they were at the beginning? An injection of passion, of course!

[Note: I am not qualified to talk about marriage]

Here’s the problem. This little squab won’t hold us through the whole season. Why? The Rangers are bad (which is a shame, because they’ve owned the Astros for 2 years and it won’t be as fun this year). They can’t hit. And even more importantly, their bullpen is hot garbage. I can’t believe that last year’s Astros unit made me nervous when I watch that tee-ball-esque outfit.

SPOILER ALERT

Didn’t have enough time this week to do recaps for Better Call Saul, The Americans, Fargo, Silicon Valley, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and some really late thoughts after catching up on Ballers. Apologies. Watch for them next week.

Paul Gallant hosts “Gallant at Night” – Weeknights 7-11 PM CT – on SportsRadio 610. He also hosts SportsZone Unfiltered – Fridays at 10 PM – on The Kube: Channel 57. Get in touch with Paul via email or his facebook page.

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