In My Opinion

Rock ’Em Sock ’Em: LeBron, meet Ja’Wuan

 

Hot list

Today: Offensive linemen drafted by Dolphins in first round. This week, Tennessee’s Ja’Wuan James marked the 10th time in 49 drafts that Miami has selected a blocker in first round. The five best OL picks based on total games started for Miami:

Year Player, school (pick) Starts/seasons
1990 Richmond Webb, Texas A&M (9th)163/11
2004 Vernon Carey, Miami (19th)107/8
1979 Jon Giesler, Michigan (24th)105/10
1982 Roy Foster, Southern Cal (24th)95/9
2008Jake Long, Michigan (1st)74/5

Note: Others were Doug Crusan in 1968 (62/7), Mike Pouncey in 2011 (46/3; still on team), Darryl Carlton in 1975 (9/2), and Billy Milner in 1995 (9/2).


What South Florida sports fans are talking about:

1. HEAT

Champs in second-round control heading to Brooklyn: Miami was the NBA’s only unbeaten team in the playoffs entering Saturday night’s game, so some Heat fans are happy Sunday no matter the result. A win for 3-0 entering Game4 on Monday pleases those who like it suspense free. A loss for 2-1, and fans who wanted drama have their wish.

2. DOLPHINS

Miami targets biggest need in draft’s first round: Dolfans seemed lukewarm on the selection of Tennessee offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James 19th overall in the NFL Draft. The pick filled the team’s greatest position need, but with a guy many saw as a second-rounder — leaving fans to applaud getting a right tackle but to wonder if it was the right tackle.

3. MARLINS

Hot Fish open long trip with rare road win: The Marlins were coming off an 8-1 homestand, won in San Diego to open a road trip late Thursday before losing late Friday, but remained in a virtual tie for first place in the NL East entering Saturday. This isn’t fair! All this success is putting a crimp in my favorite hobby: criticizing owner Jeffrey Loria.

4. JOHNNY MANZIEL

QB falls to 22nd in NFL Draft, taken by Browns: The draft’s most talked-about player, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, tumbled to late in the first round before he had to pretend he was happy to be going to Cleveland. The Browns haven’t made the playoffs in 12 years and last won a playoff game in 1994. Manizel’s new nickname: Johnny Losing Football.

5. THE PREAKNESS

Interest in California Chrome soars: In six days, Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome — of modest pedigree, owned by regular guys, trained by a 77-year-old — will try to move within one win of ending the 36-year Triple Crown drought. It could only be more heartwarming if Chrome were a Clydesdale that had befriended a donkey.

gcote@MiamiHerald.com

Anybody remember Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots? That was a favorite toy of my early youth, and for some reason I thought of the Red Rocker and Blue Bomber in the yellow boxing ring the other night when Miami’s sporting heavyweights — the Dolphins and Heat — were going head to head.

It’s pretty rare when our traditional flagship franchise and our currently reigning king club share a stage, but it happened Thursday night when the Dolphins’ No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft and a Heat home playoff game battled for attention.

Dolphins first round vs. Heat second round in an epic duel to answer, “Whose town is this, anyway?”

There is not an easy or correct answer, but what-have-you-done-for-us-lately might come into play. LeBron James, who has led the Heat to consecutive championships, happens to be set for a starring role in an upcoming Judd Apatow film called Trainwreck. The phrase unfortunately describes the state of the Dolphins as starving fans await the club’s first playoff victory since 2000.

With that disparity in mind, I found it funny that the Dolphins’ top pick Thursday, 19th overall, happened to be a Tennessee offensive tackle named Ja’Wuan James.

I kept waiting for new general manager Dennis Hickey to explain the choice by saying, “Well, our strategy all along was to take a player with a name as close to LeBron James as possible, and so Ja’Wuan James topped our draft board. We hope the similarity is an indicator we have just drafted a future Hall of Famer.”

In turn, as a gesture of magnanimous goodwill, I think it would be fitting if LeBron began spelling his first name La’Bruan.

• Samsung has a new LeBron app. Yes, because there is otherwise so little information available about the reclusive James!

• The Portland Trailblazers found a snake in the visitors locker room before a playoff loss at San Antonio. The NBA being a copycat league, that explains the swarming locusts, deadly tarantulas and 11-foot crocodile that “accidentally” awaited the Heat in Brooklyn, New York.

• The Nets’ Kevin Garnett has a sore leg. I don’t think it’s a stiff muscle. Based on his age and state of his career, it might be the onset of rigor mortis.

• Indianapolis police have called off a search for Roy Denzil Hibbert, 27, who had gone missing during the NBA playoffs but was found scoring 28 points the other night.

• An NBA Mother’s Day commercial will feature Kevin Durant’s grateful, emotional speech accepting the MVP award. Probably just as well the NBA scrapped the other spot, in which Donald Sterling wishes happy Mother’s Day to all the white moms out there.

• That reminds me. Learn from my experience, fellas. If your wife is disappointed you didn’t get her anything for Mother’s Day, saying “You’re not my mother!” is unlikely to help.

• Heisman Trophy winner and pitcher Jameis Winston rejoined the Florida State baseball team after a brief suspension for stealing crab legs from a Publix. When Winston is removed from a game now, he no longer gets the hook, he gets the claw.

• I Googled the phrase “ridiculous paranoia” and saw Fredi Gonzalez and the Braves suggesting, after being swept here, that the Marlins might have been stealing signs with tiny cameras in the outfield home-run sculpture. As if Jeffrey Loria would OK that kind of expenditure!

• We are now one month from the start of the World Cup in Brazil. “OK,” said a resolute Brazil. “Time to form a planning committee!”

•  David Beckham, trying to find a stadium site for his Miami MLS soccer team, said this week he’d be “150 percent involved” as owner. That would have been impressive, back when 100 percent was considered max effort. Now, though, with athletes routinely giving 175, even 200 percent and more, Beckham comes off as a bit of a slacker.

• We don’t agree on much, America, but, as the NHL playoffs near their final four, can’t we at least agree on the imperative to deny Montreal and Canada their first Stanley Cup since ‘93?

• Sentences I Never Imagined Writing (one in a series): “Former-NBA-star-turned-pitcher Tracy McGrady made his first start Saturday night for the minor-league Sugar Land Skeeters.”

• To the list of inexplicable things topped by the continuing, baseless popularity of the Kardashians, add this: NBA teams in need of a coach making a hot commodity of Steve Kerr.

• Answer: World cliff diving championships are now under way in Cuba. Question: What is an event for which bungee jumping off a bridge might be what beginners do before the training wheels come off?

• If a PGA Tour event fell in the forest but Tiger wasn’t in it, would it make a sound?

• NASCAR’s latest Chase for the Sprint Cup format change guarantees a spot in the finals to any driver who wins a race. Wait. I think they changed the format again while I was typing that sentence.

• The Cubs marked Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday. There was much more pomp to the grand opening, from what I recall.

•  Parting thought: Before a recent playoff game the Heat’s Chris “Birdman” Andersen was screaming a rap song called Brick In Yo Face, with lyrics about cocaine and AK-47s. Just once, I’d love to hear an NBA player pump himself up by softly crooning Frank Sinatra’s Summer Wind.

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote

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