Image Credit: Associated Press
Hello, all. In last week’s edition of Footenotes, we broke down the opening happenings of the NBA Playoffs, celebrated Tiger Woods’ return to the pinnacle of the golf world… and talked about the Royals’ bullpen. This week, we’ll switch gears from the pitching side of things in Kansas City to Alex Gordon’s surprising resurgence. Along with that, we’ll assess a few of the NBA playoffs’ biggest storylines thus far. Oh yeah, we’ll also list the top 5 positions of need for the Chiefs in this year’s NFL Draft. Without further ado, let’s jump in…
Alex Gordon’s Back?
As I was writing this, Gordon hit his fifth home run of the season, collecting his 21st RBI in 22 games. That figure ranks in the top 3 among all American League players. Right when I was about to tell you all to temper your expectations a bit, he does that. Fitting.
Heading into tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Gordon was slashing .316/.398/.582 with an OPS of .980. All of those figures would be career highs for the 13th-year veteran from Nebraska. A year removed from hitting .245, this version of Gordon hasn’t been seen in years.
While it’s extremely unlikely Gordon is going to continue this success — or anything resembling it — this is a good sign. In what could be the final year of his career in Kansas City (2020 mutual option), this provides a great opportunity for a 35-year-old ‘Gordo’ to go out on top.
Whether or not he chooses to do so remains to be seen. Regardless, it’s good to see Gordon at the top of his game if you’re a Royals fan. A six-time Gold Glove award winner, he’s been one of the best defenders in baseball ever since moving to left field full-time in 2011. His performance at the plate has fluctuated, but the value Alex Gordon has produced for Kansas City is right up there with the franchise’s greats.
NBA Playoff Storylines
- Recording the first sweep of the 2019 NBA Playoffs, the Boston Celtics await the winner of the Milwaukee/Detroit series. With the Bucks up 3-0 and Game 4 on tonight, expect that second-round series to be locked in soon.
- It appears both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors are on a collision course to advance at the bottom of the East bracket. I’m 100% certain the Raps will advance and about 95% confident in Brett Brown’s squad also doing so.
- No DeMarcus Cousins? No problem for the Golden State Warriors. As Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson are beginning to find their footing, GS will be an extremely tough out for the Houston Rockets* in the conference semifinals.
*Barring the Utah Jazz making the greatest series comeback we’ve seen. It took one of the worst shooting nights in playoff history from James Harden for Utah to even keep Game 3 close. That likely won’t happen again.
4. I’m extremely torn on the Denver/San Antonio series. The Nuggets have the best player in Nikola Jokic, but it seems Gregg Popovich’s bunch plays more like a team. Things could come down to who has a potential Game 7 in front of their home crowd. That would be Denver.
5. The Oklahoma City Thunder appear to be stuck in playoff purgatory. Since Kevin Durant departed for Golden State, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder have been unable to get out of the first round. Paul George hasn’t been good this series, but Westbrook’s lack of efficiency will lead to him taking a lot of blame for what’s likely a series loss to Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Chiefs Draft Needs
With the 2019 NFL Draft kicking off on Thursday night, I thought it’d be the perfect time to touch on what the Kansas City Chiefs need ahead of the end-of-week madness. General Manager Brett Veach has the 29th, 61st and 63rd picks to work with in the first two rounds. Although some have speculated that one or more of those picks could be sent to Seattle in exchange for Seahawks defensive end Frank Clark, let’s go based off what we have right now. Here are the top 5 needs I see the Chiefs having:
Cornerback is an obvious area of need. Having one of the worst secondaries in the NFL last season, the Chiefs addressed the safety position with the addition of Tyrann Mathieu. Adding a corner to play alongside Kendall Fuller and Bashaud Breeland could work wonders.
There’s an abundance of average-to-good talent on the edge for KC as things stand. Adding an enticing young EDGE prospect into the mix ensures that group remains competitive and significantly increases my confidence in it.
Tyreek Hill’s future situation remains a bit of an unknown but if I had to put money on it, I’d say he remains a Chief and receives either a minimal or no suspension. After Hill, Sammy Watkins and Demarcus Robinson, it would be beneficial to provide Mahomes another weapon.
None of the three linebacker spots on Steve Spagnuolo’s defense are particularly sexy. With Damien Wilson, Anthony Hitchens, Reggie Ragland and Dorian O’Daniel slotted to be major contributors behind the front four, perhaps another body there could shake things up a bit.
Due to the departures of tight end Demetrius Harris and center Mitch Morse this offseason, depth at TE and C remain low areas of concern. Austin Reiter will likely assume duties at center, which I’m not too worried about. Blake Bell joins Travis Kelce in the tight end group, but expect Veach to select another TE at some point in the draft.
There aren’t too many holes in this year’s Chiefs team. People are naturally a bit worried about the huge defensive overhaul, but it’s important to keep in mind that side of the ball was one of the worst in recent memory last year. The additions of Mathieu, Breeland, Wilson, Alex Okafor, Emmanuel Ogbah and Jeremiah Attaochu provide a lot of uncertainty, but a lot of potential for improvement. It’s Super Bowl or bust time in Kansas City.
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