1. Were you surprised that the Timberwolves did not trade Ricky Rubio before the trade deadline?
Kras: I was a bit surprised that Rubio was not moved given all the trade talk that has surrounded him since the beginning of the season. It was rumored that the New York Knicks were interested in Rubio but ultimately nothing was done. Overall I think the Timberwolves made the right move not trading Rubio. The Wolves aren’t going to get a big upgrade in a trade for Rubio so there is no need to give him away. He has a favorable contract and he is still a serviceable player. The only thing Derrick Rose would have brought would have been a bit more of a scoring threat. Outside of that, I think Rubio is the better player, and I’m a Rose guy. I would expect more of the same this offseason with Rubio and he might actually be traded.
Nate Leer: Not really. As is often the case around sports trade deadlines, there was much more talk and speculation than action across the NBA. I suspect the Rubio situation was not an exception. It would make sense if the Knicks reached out about a possible Rose for Rubio swap. Getting a healthier, cheaper, club-controlled, pass-first PG for essentially a 1 year rental would have been a great move for them. However, I think the Wolves would have been foolish to make such a move without getting other quality assets. If the Wolves could have gotten a good shooting combo guard to replace Rubio, it would have made a lot more sense than getting a ball hog. Rose would have taken opportunities from Andrew Wiggins without making anybody around him better. Maybe head coach Tom Thibodeau really does love Rose’s game but it looks like he was smart enough to not bite on a bad deal.
2. Should the Vikings extend Sam Bradford’s contract before the 2017 season or should they let the 2017 season play out before making a decision on Bradford?
Kras: I think the Vikings should let the 2017 season play out before make any long term decisions on Bradford. He had a nice season last year and could very well duplicate that. That said, it was far from an MVP type season and there is no reason to think he will be turning one of those in any time soon. He did have a healthy season, which was encouraging, and he did it with a below average O-line. However, I don’t think either of those warrant a contract extension.
JJ Benz: The only reason that I can think of for extending Sam’s contract would be if it lessened the cap number. Even though Sam had a very good year last year, he is a aging player that is injury prone and doesn’t have a long term future with the franchise. With Teddy Bridgewater’s future in question, the team better look for a substitute for its long term future.
3. Would the Twins’ young hitters benefit more from getting as many at bats as possible or by having a quality, vocal, veteran hitter in the clubhouse and lineup?
Nate Leer: This is a tough one. Usually I lean towards letting the kids play and technically the Twins have a veteran hitter who is well compensated to say the least. However, Baby Jesus ain’t giving any Sermons on the mount to the rest of the team and Joe can’t even figure out his own swing that well. The Twins have a bunch of young bats that need an opportunity to succeed or fail. I would lean towards letting the kids play. Maybe they could add a right-handed hitting corner OF to be a part time player. However, I would not want to commit more than 300 ABs to a veteran player unless and until some of the players they have fall by the wayside via ineffectiveness or injury.
Kras: I think the Twins should let the young guys get the at bats. To touch on what Nate Leer said, the 1 veteran guy who people would look at to be a vocal leader, is the quietest guy in the room most of the time. I believe Max Kepler, Byron Buxton, and Miguel Sano, just to name a few, need as many at bats as possible to see what the Twins have and if they want that to be their future.
1. Will the top teams so far this NHL regular season – MN Wild and Wash. Capitals – end up meeting in the finals?
JJ Benz: As of Feb 26, the Wild have only a slim lead over the Blackhawks (3 point lead) and hopefully they can hold on to claim home ice advantage. I think the NHL has parity mainly because of the point for an overtime loss. In the playoffs,if a game is tied it doesn’t go to a shootout instead it is continuous overtime. This puts a premium on hot goaltending and home ice is definitely a huge advantage. Even though these 2 teams may have the best regular season records, neither of them have Stanley Cup Finals experience. If I was to bet, I would bet that neither of these 2 teams make it to the final, mainly because of their lack of playoff experience.
Kras: I would have to agree with JJBenz on this one. Although both clubs are playing great hockey, they have historically come up short. Washington can’t seem to get to the Eastern Conference Finals regardless of who they put around Alex Ovechkin or between the pipes. On the other side, in the West, the Wild have not been able to break through either. The Chicago Blackhawks have been the biggest obstacle for the Wild and, until they can get through them, it is hard to see them being able to rise to the challenge of winning the Cup. I would be surprised if both teams made it to the Stanley Cup Finals and if I had to pick one of them it would be Caps.
2. Will Gonzaga be the #1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and if not, who will it be?
Kras: BYU has recently put a dagger in the hopes of Gonzaga getting the #1 overall seed, so I think I will focus on who it could be instead of them. Kansas appears to be the frontrunner in the poll and, barring a bad loss, will likely stay there. I personally am most interested in seeing where Villanova ends up. They will likely be a #1 seed but I don’t think they will end up with the #1 overall.
Nate Leer: I think Gonzaga should still be the #1 overall seed. With 2 less losses than anyone else, I think they have earned the right to be the top team. Kansas would be my next pick but they seem to falter in March Madness and I think that matters. The NCAA landscape has changed in the last decade and Gonzaga has been one of the most prominent mid-majors to lead the charge toward parity. I’d like to see them rewarded for the work they have done over the years.
3. Which players you are interested in seeing perform in the NFL Scouting Combine?
Kras: I want to watch a couple different players for different reasons. First I will be interested in watching RBs Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette. Both these guys have potential to be big fantasy football assets. Next I would like to see QB Mitch Leidner. He had a very underwhelming 2016 season at the University of Minnesota and I fully expect nothing special from him. Finally I am interested in Deshaun Watson. What he does at the combine will certainly start to impact his draft status which will be all over the place up until the draft.
Nate Leer: The two top TEs – OJ Howard & David Njoku. Both are freakish size/speed guys. Either could be the top TE and both could go in the first round. I like Howard as a more well rounded player but either could jump into the low teens in the draft with a big performance at the combine. It will be cool to watch these studs tear up the field in Indy.1.