Footenotes: Eric Berry’s Future, NBA Playoff Preview, Proper Grocery Shopping

Image Credit: ClutchPoints

Hello, all. Hope you’ve had a good last seven days and your week is off to a great start. In last week’s edition of Footenotes, we decided whether or not “Johnny Football” was finished, addressed rumors of Mike Trout joining the Philadelphia Phillies in 2020, and much more. This week’s mailbag is by far our most stuffed one yet and features so many great questions. Without further ado…

Football:

  1. Address Antonio Brown to Oakland.

Might as well start off with the largest fish that needs to be fried, right? Late Saturday night (or early Sunday morning, depending on where you were), the Pittsburgh Steelers sent 7x Pro Bowl WR to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for a third- and fifth-round pick. To me, a 3 and a 5 is a very small price to pay for one of the best wide receivers in this generation.

To cap it all off (no pun intended), the Steelers are on the hook for over $21 million for Brown as a result of the trade. AB also received a massive contract extension from Oakland that will yield him just over $50 million in salary and a tick over $30 million in guaranteed money through 2021.

The Raiders obviously got better over the weekend. With three first-round picks to work with and a superstar WR for quarterback Derek Carr to play with, expect the Oakland offense to be a lot more fun to watch. Pittsburgh must have really wanted Brown out of the building. That’s a lot of money to eat.

2. Will Eric Berry make it through this next week?

Although Chiefs’ star safety Eric Berry will not undergo surgery to repair a nagging heel issue this offseason, his spot on the team is far from secure moving forward. If Berry passes his physical on March 15, his contract is fully guaranteed for the 2019-20 season. We’ll find out this week whether or not the Chiefs will retain their heart and soul of the defense. Playing in just three games since 2016, Kansas City could be ready to move on from the former Tennessee Volunteer.

3. Did D.K. Metcalf show he deserves to be the #1 WR in the Draft?

1.6 percent body fat. 4.33 40 yard dash time. 40.5 inch vertical. Those three numbers alone will give you chills. Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf is a freak of nature, and his performance at the NFL Combine sent the Twitter world into a frenzy.

On the other hand, though, Metcalf’s other drill times raised some eyebrows – and not in a good way. With a 3-cone drill time of 7.38 seconds and a shuttle drill that took 4.5 seconds to complete, the fears surrounding Metcalf’s lateral mobility became legitimate. Another thing to keep in mind: the 228-pound WR’s best college season saw him catch 39 balls for 646 yards and 7 touchdowns. Solid, but nothing that screams top-15 pick or future #1 receiver in the NFL. I am not confident calling him the best WR in this draft.

Proceed with caution when projecting where Metcalf will go. Personally, I’d take him towards the end of the first round. All it takes is one GM falling in love with him to throw a fork in everyone else’s plans/predictions, though.

4. Recently heard talks about eliminating divisions in professional sports. Potentially making it just East vs. West. Thoughts?

Not a fan. I think that the way things are currently set up in all professional sports is fine. Having conferences and divisions makes for both rivalries and level playoff playing fields (for the most part). I wish I could have been a part of that conversation that was heard, haha!

Basketball:

  1. Predictions for the 2019 NBA Playoffs?

My projected seeds for each conference are as follows:

East: 1) Milwaukee, 2) Toronto, 3) Boston, 4) Philadelphia, 5) Indiana, 6) Detroit, 7) Brooklyn, 8) Miami

West: 1) Golden State, 2) Denver, 3) Houston, 4) Oklahoma City, 5) Utah, 6) Portland, 7) San Antonio, 8) Los Angeles (Clippers)

A couple first round series that jump out at me in my dreamt up standings are Boston vs. Detroit in the East and OKC vs. Utah in the West. Detroit obviously isn’t on the same level as Boston but if Reggie Jackson, Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond all bring their A-games for an entire series, it’d make for some fun basketball to watch. On the other side of the bracket, a rematch of last year’s first-round matchup would be amazing. I’d argue both of these teams are better than they were a year ago.

A few weeks ago, my conference finals picks were Milwaukee vs. Philadelphia and Golden State vs. Houston (again). I’ll stick with it, even if it means my seeding will have to end up being incorrect. In the NBA Finals, I’ve got the Bucks taking on the Warriors. Dubs in 6.

2. Do you trust the Sixers more than you did before the season? Does having two superstars offset a really weak bench?

I definitely trust Philadelphia more now than I did in October. The acquisitions of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris were two of the biggest in-season moves throughout ‘The Association’ this year. Even if it means having a pretty depleted bench, it won’t be the end of the world come playoff time when rotations get cut to 10 or 11 guys. Philly is legit. They’re coming. Championship or bust time for The Process?

3. What will Kyrie Irving do this summer?

What a season it’s been for those trying to predict what Kyrie Irving will do following the conclusion of this season. From being 100% sure he’s remaining in Boston, to thinking he’s a future Knick, to entertaining a possible reunion with LeBron James, it’s been a wild ride. I’m going with the last option. Irving and James have rekindled the fire they used to have as teammates with the Cleveland Cavaliers and have looked like they need each other all season long. After failing to make the ECF this year, Irving leaves Boston and teams back up with LeBron in Los Angeles.

4. Why is Jayson Tatum *expletive* this year?

Let’s just call that expletive… bad. I don’t think Tatum has been bad by any stretch of the imagination this year, but his lack of progression from year 1 to year 2 is a tiny bit concerning. Overall, I don’t think it’s anything to keep Celtics fans up at night. If Tatum fails to produce in the postseason after such an impressive showing a year ago, I’d be putting a lot of pressure on him to put up some better numbers next season. A 16/6/2 guy that shoots .452/.368/.870 is solid.

5. Can the Denver Nuggets take the 1 seed? Are they serious contenders?

As of when this article was written, Denver was just 1.5 games back of the Golden State Warriors for first place in the Western Conference. The Nuggets have the ninth-most difficult remaining schedule in the league, as opposed to GS’ 17th-ranked slate from now until the end of the season. The Warriors are still finding their footing with DeMarcus Cousins, so I’ll bank on them hanging on to the number one spot by 1-3 games.

Despite the immense amount of talent and depth on the Nuggets, I just don’t see them as a legitimate title contender quite yet. The team is extremely young and this will be its first year together in the postseason. Nikola Jokic, Jamaal Murray and company will likely win their first round series but past that, I’m not sure I’d bet on them. The future is extremely bright for this squad, though.

6. Who’s the best team matchup wise against GS?

Probably Houston or Oklahoma City. I’m of the belief that if Chris Paul hadn’t injured himself in last year’s Western Conference Finals, the Houston Rockets would have been the West’s representative in the NBA Finals. Oklahoma City is improved this year, but Paul George’s current injury and Russell Westbrook’s lack of efficiency worry me. OKC’s ceiling is super high, but its floor makes it very beatable as well.

7. Based on the Lakers’ poor performance (to say the least) this season, what do you feel they need to focus on for the rest of the season now even with the Ball and Ingram injuries? And what moves for next season do they need to make as an organization trying to make a playoff run?

There isn’t much LA can do in order to salvage LA-Bron, act 1. Possibly seeing what the team has in Moritz Wagner and allowing James to finish his season on a high note are about the only two things I can think of. It might hurt the team to finish with a good record instead of tanking on the fly. A 16-game winning streak to close out the season is extremely unlikely so at this point, getting out of the regular season healthy would be another plus.

Luckily for the Lakers, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, Mike Muscala, Lance Stephenson, Reggie Bullock, Tyson Chandler and JaVale McGee’s contracts all expire after the season. The team will have some cap space to work with in an effort to pursue another superstar to play alongside James. Securing one of those superstars is step one in helping this franchise return to the postseason.

8. Any reason Power 5 conferences should even play conference tournaments?

I don’t mind the conference basketball tournaments. I think it brings in additional revenue for cities/teams and can affect how momentum plays into the NCAA tournament. If a rule change eliminating the conference tournaments was passed, I wouldn’t feel too bad. Indifferent on that one! 🙂

9. What do you do if you are Zion Williamson for the rest of his college career?

As an armchair coach/caring human being, it’s easy for me to urge Duke’s phenom forward Zion Williamson to sit for the remainder of the season. As someone who would want to play if I were in his shoes, though, I understand why he’s eager to get back out on the court. It’s a tough situation to judge. Lots at stake but at the same time, he’s committed to this team until it’s all said and done for 2018-19. If I’m Zion, I’m returning for the conference tournament, giving it my all for the NCAA tourney, then heading to the NBA.

10. What does Doke (Udoka Azubuike) do next season?

NBADraft.net has KU’s 7-foot behemoth of a center going 49th to the Los Angeles Clippers in its latest mock draft. That’s about where I’d have him going as well should he elect to go to the NBA after this season. Considering he has unfinished business to tend to, a starting spot waiting for him and an opportunity to boost his draft stock into the first round next season at Kansas, I think he will return for his senior season.

11. Now that it’s over, where does the KU streak rank among Kansas City greatest sports stories? And, for that matter, what are the greatest sports stories in KC that we should remember (Top 5)?

It’s up there, for sure. Stuff like that just doesn’t happen. Sports aren’t designed for teams to dominate for a decade-plus. Every once in a while, though, a combination of talent, coaching and luck comes together and forms something special. That something special happened to be 14-straight Big 12 titles for the University of Kansas basketball program.

Patrick Mahomes’ historic, record-breaking 2018-19 season is also in my top 5. I’d put both the 1985 and 2015 Royals World Series victories in there, too. For the sake of not excluding something amazing, I’m going to leave the 5 spot open for pretty much anything else. Kansas City’s sports scene is extremely underrated on a national scale.

Baseball:

  1. Repercussions of Salvador Perez’s injury?

Pretty much the only positive ways to look at Salvador Perez’s season-ending elbow injury are 1) He picked a good year to miss (the team won’t be competitive) and 2) The rest of his overworked body will get a rest. Other than that, it’s going to be unbelievably difficult for myself or any other fan to watch a Royals game without Salvador Perez behind the plate.

As for the team as a whole, signing veteran catcher and one-time Gold Glover Martin Maldonado will ensure some defensive stability. Maldonado’s bat can’t hold a candle to that of Perez, but a veteran to catch for some young pitchers never hurts.

2. Summarize how the Royals’ spring training is going.

Overall, the Kansas City Royals are 10-7 this spring. A few things that have jumped out at me:

  • Bubba Starling is batting .381 in 21 ABs
  • Adalberto Mondesí is right on Starling’s heels at .364
  • Outfielder Jorge Bonifacio has struggled immensely thus far, striking out 11 times in 28 at-bats
  • Foster Griffin leads all Royals pitchers in strikeouts with 9
  • Veteran reliever Wily Peralta hasn’t allowed a single hit thus far

3. Expectations for Alex Gordon?

After struggling through one of the single-worst hitting seasons I’ve ever watched unfold with my own two eyes a couple years ago, Alex Gordon had a mini-bounce back in 2018. You can pick your stat. BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+, etc. – it was better. Don’t let me mislead you, though, Gordon was still a well below average hitter. Snagging another Gold Glove helped make his 2018 season look like a success but overall, it was another disappointing season for the Royals legend.

With that said, Gordon should produce at a similar level on both sides (offense and defense) this season. At age 35, whatever drop-off in athleticism the former Nebraska Cornhusker experienced from 33-34 will probably level off from 34-35. I predict a .240 BA from Gordon in 2019 and one more Gold Glove, assuming he plays enough to qualify for it.

4. Will the Phillies win a championship?

It depends on what timeframe we’re talking here! In the next 2 years? I don’t think so. After that, anything is possible. At this point in time, I’m too frightened of the amazing teams the American League has to offer (Boston, New York, Houston) to pick Philadelphia in a World Series matchup. Adding Bryce Harper was a fantastic first step, though.

5. Royals record prediction?

Before the Perez injury, I had Kansas City pegged at 71-91. I’ll drop that to 68-94 now.

Fun stuff:

  1. Do college kids even do “Spring Break” anymore? Now that MTV is no longer great.

College kids still “Spring Break” for sure! The decline of MTV certainly doesn’t make it as big of a deal as it used to be, but young adults still make the most of their time off by going on vacation. I haven’t truly Spring Break-ed yet but now that I think of it, maybe I should plan something fun to do a year from now. It’s not college without a spring break road trip, is it?

2. What is Binge TV Show watching doing to the state of our society?

Confession: I am downright terrible at watching movies or TV shows on Netflix. I can’t count how many times I’ve been told by a friend to start a show or watch a movie, but I proceed to watch one episode or five minutes and never pick it back up. Binge-watching shows sounds like a fun idea but frankly, I believe a lot of people simply don’t have enough time to do it. It’s extremely popular among teenagers and college students but overall, I don’t think it’s having too big of an impact on society!

3. Friday was International Women’s Day. What women have inspired you throughout history?

Rosa Parks is at the very top of my list. She’s the woman I learned so much about throughout school and have the utmost respect for. She taught everyone – men and women – to stand by their beliefs and hold their ground. I’ve only been around for the last 20 years, so Serena Williams is definitely the first female athlete that comes to mind for me. As strong-willed and powerful as they come, Serena is a national treasure. Her cameo in Nike’s recent commercial was phenomenal.

4. Best sports facilities in the area to watch a game?

Starting at the very top, Arrowhead Stadium and Kauffman Stadium are the pillars of Kansas City sports. Although I’ve never been, I’ve heard tremendous things about Children’s Mercy Park. I need to catch a Sporting KC game there soon. Word on the street is Sumner Academy is a pretty popping spot for a basketball game, wrestling tournament or just about anything else.

5. Really, E-Gaming a sport in college?

Funny you mention that – my school, Baker University, is adding eSports to its list of athletic programs for the 2019-20 school year. I joked with some friends that if there’s a Madden or NBA 2K team, I’d join. I have a good friend who wrote a persuasive essay last school year about why eSports should be considered sports and although I don’t agree with some of it, it checks a lot of the boxes of what a sport is. Very unorthodox and won’t be recognized by the majority of the population but nonetheless, it’s something that will become a part of more and more colleges’ offerings each year.

6. I walked into a grocery store… I watched some people go to the produce side and others to home care side…What is the right way to grocery shop?

I’m so glad we get to save the best question of all day for last. I don’t do much grocery shopping but the way my mom always did it was go through literally every single aisle. Every. Single. One. Whether they were on her list or not, she wanted to check out sale items and make sure she wasn’t missing out on something cool.

To me, you should start with your non-food items. Go check out the lawn/home care section. Shop for your pet. Grab a birthday card. Then, head to the deli or bakery. You’ll spend some money there you didn’t originally plan on. Next, produce. After that, go aisle-by-aisle and knock out the rest of your list. This will keep everything fresh and you’ll know exactly how much room you have for food because you’ve already bought everything else.


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This is your reminder to put your Best Foote Forward and be the best version of yourself each and every day. Spread love and positivity to anyone you come in contact with. Do good in the world!

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