RandBall

Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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Let's talk about everything going on in this Andrew Wiggins ROY t-shirt

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated April 30th at 5:37pm 301978441

Andrew Wiggins is the NBA Rookie of the Year, to nobody’s surprise. He wore a tuxedo to his press conference, which is an awesome move. You can never go wrong with a tux.

Not long after the official announcement came out, so did some official NBA t-shirts commemorating the event. You might be able to go wrong wearing one of these (or maybe not?):

wigginsroyshirt

Whoa, there is just an awful lot to take in there. If I’m reading it correctly, that’s a photo of Wiggins intertwined with some Timberwolves-colored ribbon (?) made to be in the shape of a wolf (?) with a Christmas tree (?) in the background.

Aw, man, now I want one just to stare at it.

NFL prop bet puts odds of Adrian Peterson draft trade at 7 to 2

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated April 30th at 4:13pm 301919771

tobypetersonProp bets are ridiculous things, but those who make the odds are often in the know. This is proven year after year, when Vegas keeps making more money and the general betting public gripes about woulda coulda shouldas.

As such, maybe we should pay attention to some prop bet odds from the Football Betting Center to help give us some instruction on what might happen in tonight’s first round of the NFL draft.

For instance, the odds of QB Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota going 1-2 (either order, but likely Winston first) are 1 to 2. For every $100 won, you’d need to wager $200. In other words, the draft doesn’t really get interesting until pick three (though a trade or a non-QB pick in the top two could change that).

For Vikings fans, the most interesting prop is about Adrian Peterson. The site puts the odds at 7 to 2 that Peterson will be traded during the draft. Essentially, they think it’s a long shot, but not a ridiculous long shot.

While I still think Peterson will be traded, I know I’m in the minority. Thank goodness we’ll all know soon enough.

Also, consider this an opportunity for shameless self-promotion: myself and Master Tesfatsion will be going live at 7 p.m. on startribune.com with a Vikings-focused draft livestream, and we’ll be staying on through the Vikings’ first-round pick (yes, even if they trade down). We’re both wearing suits, which is maybe enough to convince you to watch even if you don’t like football?

Ranking the Minnesota Rookies of the Year over the past 25 seasons

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated April 30th at 12:29pm 301828881

wigginsAndrew Wiggins this afternoon will become the ninth Minnesota top pro athlete — and first Timberwolves player — to win Rookie of the Year honors in his or her respective league over the past 25 seasons.

Here is a ranking of those nine athletes and how their careers turned out (with Wiggins’ ranking based on potential).

(Note: Numerous entities hand out top rookie honors in the NFL, but for our purposes this is a winner of the Associated Press award for either the top offensive or defensive rookie):

1) Adrian Peterson, NFL, 2007: Even with what transpired in the past year, Peterson will retire someday as one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game. Whether he does so in purple remains to be seen, but there’s no denying that he built on an amazing rookie season and kept on going.

2) Maya Moore, WNBA, 2011: The Lynx hadn’t made the playoffs for six consecutive seasons until Moore joined the team in 2011. Not only did they make it that year, but they also won the WNBA title. By her fourth season, she was the league MVP. It doesn’t get much better than that.

3) Randy Moss, NFL, 1998: He burst onto the scene, electrifying a fan base and taking the Vikings to the brink of the Super Bowl as a rookie. He had six great years here, a not-so-great-seventh, and some major accomplishments with New England. You could argue he belongs at the top of this list, but I put him here because there’s still a part of me that wonders if he could have been even better. I don’t wonder that about Peterson or Moore.

4) Andrew Wiggins, NBA, 2015: This is lofty company, showing what I think of Wiggins’ potential. He might not have the gear to become one of the greatest ever at his position like Peterson or Moss, but can I picture a day when he’s one of the top 10-15 players in the NBA? Easily, and it’s not that far off.

5) Seimone Augustus, WNBA, 2006: She’s a five-time All-Star and the MVP of the 2011 finals — a great player, a smooth scorer and a huge part of the success the Lynx have had in recent years.

6) Chuck Knoblauch, MLB, 1991: His career and later his life took a downturn, but let’s not forget that a rookie Knoblauch was a key to the 1991 World Series title and an in-his-prime Chuck was a sight to behold. In 1996, for example, he hit .341 with 140 runs scoerd, 62 extra-base hits, a .448 OBP and a .965 OPS — one of the top seasons at the plate for any Twins hitter in the past 20 years.

7) Percy Harvin, NFL, 2009: There was a time when I could not have imagined Harvin being so far down on this list. But for as dynamic as he can be, Harvin has never had a 1,000-yard receiving season and is on his fourth NFL team.

8) Betty Lennox, WNBA, 2000: Won top rookie honors and then played just 16 more games with the Lynx before being traded. Lennox revived her career with Seattle and had a nice prime, but her rookie season still might have been her best.

9) Marty Cordova, MLB, 1995: A very good rookie year, a great second year … and then his production dipped for the rest of his career.

The Wild's unfamiliar playoff position: no doubt who the goalie is, no doubt who has the best one

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated April 29th at 3:27pm 301727201

dubnyk2The Wild has gone into a playoff series before with an edge at the goalie position. I helped cover the 2002-03 playoff series against Vancouver, and it didn’t matter if Minnesota was throwing out Manny Fernandez or Dwayne Roloson. Either one was going to be better than the Canucks’ Dan Cloutier, who ultimately gave many gifts to an offensively challenged Wild team that scored 16 goals in the final three games of the series.

The Wild has gone into playoff series before with a clearly defined No. 1 goalie. Niklas Backstrom was that guy in the 2008 postseason, starting the vast majority of regular season games and all six playoff games in a series loss to the Avs.

But in the majority of the playoff series the Wild has been a part of (an admittedly small sample size within a short franchise history), Minnesota either had no clear No. 1 goalie, lacked the edge in the goalie matchup or (many times) both.

And I dare say until this year, the Wild had never gone into a series with the clear-cut best goalie of the two teams playing AND a clear-cut number one guy in net.

The Wild most certainly enjoyed that edge against St. Louis, which picked between Jake Allen and Brian Elliott and watched Allen give up back-breaking soft goals in both Games 5 and 6.

The same holds true in this upcoming series against the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford has been awfully good in the past against the Wild, but he was lit up in the opening round by Nashville and yielded four starts in the series to Scott Darling. Crawford is getting the Game 1 nod against the Wild, but he’s also probably going to be looking nervously at the bench if even a moderately soft goal goes in.

When Mike Yeo is asked (jokingly) who he’s going with, he just laughs. It’s a nice feeling for a coach — and a feeling a Wild coach has never had before.

Sucked in again by Tim Duncan and the Spurs

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated April 29th at 12:10pm 301690601

duncanIt was late Tuesday. I had watched the Twins and Mike Pelfrey win a crisply played game — a sentence that has not been written often — and then taken care of some late-night tasks, including some prep for Thursday’s big Vikings-focused Star Tribune NFL draft show, which will air live on the website starting at 7 p.m.

It was approaching midnight, and I did a quick scan of scores on my phone, thinking I was about to go to bed. But there it was: Spurs 82, Clippers 82, end of the third quarter.

Sports fans know this dilemma well: Do you pass on the finish, knowing that you could very well miss something great … or do you just give in, knowing full well the final quarter of a pivotal Game 5 in a tied series between two very good teams will be, at the very least, good — and might very well be much better than that.

You can imagine what happened next.

The TV went back on, and sleep became the secondary priority. The reward was, of course, 12 great minutes of basketball. The Spurs forged ahead by seven points late, but the Clippers roared back. Then, on a pivotal possession, Tim Duncan stuffed Blake Griffin so cleanly and embarrassingly that you would swear Griffin was the 39-year-old in the fourth year of his alleged decline and Duncan was the 26-year-old up-and-comer with springs in his legs.

In the final seconds, the Clippers had a potential go-ahead bucket negated by offensive basket interference (a good call and easy call). The Spurs never gave them another sniff, grabbing a critical offensive rebound to seal the deal.

At that moment, Duncan smiled broadly (image via a TNT screen grab). It was the smile of a man who knows that someday, somehow, this dynasty is going to end. He will not play forever, even if at this point nobody can be sure where the finish line is, exactly. It was the smile of a man who doesn’t often smile, but who knew that at the moment that rebound came down, his team had secured the win that exponentially increased its odds of moving on to the second round.

In the postgame interview, Duncan gushed — as much as Duncan can gush — about what a great game it was to be a part of.

If a future Hall of Famer — more than that, I suppose: arguably one of the 10 greatest players in NBA history — felt that way about playing in it, nobody who stayed up into Wednesday morning to watch the end should feel cheated. Tired, yes, but no regrets.

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Cincinnati - WP: M. Lorenzen 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 1
Miami - WP: M. Latos 2 FINAL
Washington - LP: S. Strasburg 1
NY Yankees - WP: M. Pineda 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Estrada 3
Philadelphia - LP: C. Billingsley 0 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: S. Miller 9
Baltimore - LP: B. Norris 2 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 3
Tampa Bay - LP: D. Smyly 0 FINAL
Boston - WP: R. Porcello 2
Los Angeles - WP: Z. Greinke 8 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Garza 2
Cleveland - LP: D. Salazar 3 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Vargas 5
Detroit - LP: S. Greene 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: J. Samardzija 5
Oakland - WP: J. Chavez 2 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1
Texas - WP: W. Rodriguez 7 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Feldman 1
Chicago Cubs - LP: E. Jackson 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Harris 7
Arizona 0 Postponed
Colorado 0
Seattle - LP: D. Leone 4 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: H. Street 5
San Diego - LP: A. Cashner 0 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 6
Washington 90 FINAL
Atlanta 106
Memphis 97 FINAL
Golden State 90
Chicago 1 FINAL
Minnesota 0
Anaheim 3 FINAL(OT)
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Houston 0

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