VOL. 132 | NO. 252 | Thursday, December 21, 2017
Z-Bo Flashback as Kings Stun 76ers; NBA Mock Drafts Relevant to Grizzlies Fans
By Don Wade
If you happened to check in on Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia between the 76ers and Sacramento Kings, it had to make you a little nostalgic. Former Grizzly Zach Randolph led the Kings back from a 16-point deficit to a 101-95 victory at Wells Fargo Center.
Kings beat writer Jason Jones, under the headline “Randolph restores order,” described Z-Bo’s contributions this way:
“Randolph’s importance was magnified in the third quarter. Facing a 16-point deficit, Randolph simply refused to let the Kings get blown out and went to work for 10 of his points in the period.
“Randolph is the Kings’ run stopper because he can be relied on to get a quality shot.”
Not as punchy as “Feed Fifty,” but point taken. When all else fails, “throw it to the hand.”
The Kings, of course, are not faring much better than the Grizzlies. That win raised their record to 10-20. Randolph is averaging 15.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists going into Wednesday night’s game at Brooklyn.
Randolph will make his return to FedExForum on Jan. 19.
NBA MOCK DRAFT CHATTER
From now until it no longer makes sense, we will be providing some NBA mock draft updates because barring a miracle on the court or apocalypse off it, the Grizzlies are going to be in the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery.
At cbssports.com, writer Reid Forgrave has Duke’s Marvin Bagley at No. 1 (most “experts” think the power forward is the obvious top choice), followed by Luca Doncic, a shooting guard from Slovenia. Arizona center DeAndre Ayton was third choice, Missouri forward Michael Porter Jr. the fourth pick, and Alabama point guard Collin Sexton rounded out the top five.
In this mock draft, the Grizzlies were projected to pick ninth and to select Michigan State power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. For what it’s worth, Z-Bo was a Spartan. Deyonta Davis was, too.
Here’s an excerpt from what Forgrave had to say about Jackson: “There are flashes of unicorn in Jackson’s game, an elite shot blocker (nearly three per game) and a very good rebounder who also takes, and makes, 3-pointers. The potential is sky-high here, especially in an NBA that values this type of versatile big man.”
WHAT A KICK
Former University of Memphis placekicker Jake Elliott has had a great rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles, but just missed making the Pro Bowl. (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)
Two former University of Memphis kickers have shown well this NFL season. Yet neither will be representing his team in the Pro Bowl.
Stephen Gostkowski, the longtime New England Patriots kicker, has hit 33 of 36 field goals this season, or 91.7 percent. He’s 4 of 4 on kicks of 50 or more yards (including a 62-yarder) and 22 of 22 from inside of 40 yards.
But the nod still went to Pittsburgh kicker Chris Boswell, who also is 33 of 36 overall, to represent the American Football Conference.
Philadelphia rookie Jake Elliott has been quite the find for the Eagles, too. He has converted on 24 of 28 field goals for 85.7 percent. He has made 5 of 6 kicks 50 yards or longer, including a 61-yarder.
He lost out to Greg Zuerlein of the Los Angeles Rams; Zuerlein made 38 of 40 attempts for 95 percent.
Gostkowski, who is in his 12th NFL season, has been selected to four Pro Bowls.
1,000 WIN CLUB GROWS BY TWO
On Tuesday, Dec. 19, two women’s college basketball coaches won their 1000th game. First, North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell earned win No. 1,000 as her team defeated Grambling State by 16 points. A few hours later, Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma got his 1,000th victory as the top-ranked Huskies downed Oklahoma 88-64.
The late Pat Summit of Tennessee is the leader in the women’s game with 1,098 wins. Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer has 1,018 victories. In the men’s game, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski has won 1,082 games.