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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An uncharacteristically quiet draft night for Vikings isn't necessarily a bad thing

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated May 1st at 1:33pm 302169391

spielmanRick Spielman has gained such a reputation for wheeling and dealing on draft night that when the Vikings ended up staying put at No. 11 last night and taking CB Trae Waynes, it almost felt like a letdown.

You mean that’s it? No accumulation of picks? No assets to jump back into the first round, like the Vikings have done each of the past three seasons?

But while trading is fun and can be lucrative in terms of stockpiling picks or being bold to get a star, the downsides of those types of gambles are also numerous. The Vikings gave up four draft picks in 2013 to get Cordarrelle Patterson late in the first round. He’s very much a work in progress, while two of the players New England picked up in the deal were big factors in the Patriots’ Super Bowl team last season. And in 2006, the Vikings traded up to get Tarvaris Jackson. We all know how that worked out.

On the flip side, trading down obviously is a gamble, too, because you’re giving up a draft position of power for more (but lesser) picks. If you can do it seamlessly (as the Vikings did in 2012 by swapping one spot with Cleveland while picking up a ransom in return), there’s very little risk. But if you wind up with a bunch of inferior players when you could have nabbed a star, you look foolish.

The safe thing is keeping your pick and taking the best player available. Waynes might not electrify the fan base, but it’s important to remember, too, that some of the Vikings’ best first-round draft picks of the past couple of decades came in their original draft slots: Randy Moss at No. 21 in 1998, Chad Greenway at No. 17 in 2006, Adrian Peterson at No. 7 in 2007 and Percy Harvin at No. 22 in 2009.

If you can make a good draft night trade, by all means do it. But if it’s not there — which it sounds like was the case Thursday — forcing it for the sake of making a trade is far worse than being prudent and simply adding what should be a very good player.

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.

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Miami 2 Top 3rd Inning
Washington 1
Arizona - J. Collmenter 2:10 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
San Diego - I. Kennedy 2:45 PM
San Francisco - C. Heston
Arizona - R. Ray 5:40 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Cincinnati - M. Leake 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - G. Cole
NY Yankees - C. Sabathia 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Buehrle
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
Atlanta - M. Foltynewicz
Baltimore - U. Jimenez 6:10 PM
NY Mets - J. deGrom
Tampa Bay - A. Colome 6:10 PM
Boston - J. Masterson
Los Angeles - J. Wieland 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
Cleveland - C. Carrasco 7:10 PM
Kansas City - D. Duffy
Detroit - A. Simon 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Sale
Oakland - S. Kazmir 7:10 PM
Minnesota - K. Gibson
Texas - C. Lewis 7:10 PM
Houston - S. Deduno
Chicago Cubs - J. Lester 7:15 PM
St. Louis - L. Lynn
Seattle - R. Elias 9:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Wilson
Chicago 6:00 PM
Cleveland
LA Clippers 8:30 PM
Houston
Montreal 6:00 PM
Tampa Bay
NY Rangers 6:30 PM
Washington
Los Angeles 8:30 PM
Real Salt Lake

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