Would Donovan Mitchell go first overall in a 2017 NBA redraft? These national experts make his case 

NBA experts Chad Ford and John Hollinger discuss why Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell should be in strong consideration for the No. 1 pick in a 2017 NBA redraft during the latest episode of Chad Ford’s NBA Big Board podcast. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell in a Philadelphia 76ers jersey?

Eek. Ew. Gross.

But, at least in this instance, that thought is actually a compliment to the third-year All-Star Utah Jazz guard.

In a tradition that’s becoming as old as time, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, NBA redrafts are commonplace these days. And in the latest episode of Chad Ford’s NBA Big Board podcast, the NBA draft expert and BYU-Hawaii professor tackles doing a 2017 redraft.

New NBA RE-DRAFT Pod! @johnhollinger and I re-draft the 2017 NBA lottery

— Jayson Tatum or Donovan Mitchell at No. 1?
— What happened to Markelle Fultz? And where would he be drafted today?

Spotify https://t.co/7Y0A8gYmil
Apple https://t.co/xYgy1mOJPE pic.twitter.com/d6JFuxCosd

— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) May 28, 2020

In Ford’s opinion, Mitchell should be the No. 1 overall selection for that year. Philadelphia, instead, went with guard Markelle Fultz with the top pick in 2017, a selection that didn’t pan out, as the 76ers traded him to Orlando less than two years later.

Mitchell, of course, ended up with the Jazz in a savvy draft night trade with the Denver Nuggets after being taken with the 13th overall pick.

“I’m glad we’ve got our first big surprise of the day,” Ford said on the podcast. “(Mitchell) went 13, has been a bit of a franchise player for the Jazz early on. There’s a number of ways you could have gone here, I mean (Boston’s) Jayson Tatum certainly (is) in that conversation for the No. 1 pick. (Miami’s) Bam Adebayo could definitely be in that conversation.”

Ford then explains why Mitchell — a late riser in the draft process — is his choice for the No. 1 pick.

“I think that in the NBA a guy that can get his own shot anywhere on the court, can play multiple positions in the backcourt and has the sort of competitive fire and intensity that Donovan Mitchell brings to the game every night, if I’m going to build my franchise around a guy that I think can carry me down the road, to me it was a tough decision, …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


How trekking up Y Mountain is fueling BYU guard Jesse Wade’s return to the basketball court

BYU basketball player Jesse Wade on Y Mountain during one of his daily hikes during the pandemic. | Courtesy Wade family

Ascending famed Y Mountain every day during the pandemic has served as a metaphor for Wade’s comeback from a knee injury.

PROVO — When the coronavirus pandemic hit in mid-March, and almost everything was shut down, BYU guard Jesse Wade’s dad suggested an unorthodox place for his son to continue to rehab his injured knee.

Eric Wade challenged Jesse to hike Y Mountain as a way to strengthen the knee and the adjoining muscles. At first, Jesse wasn’t interested in taking a hike. His first thought was: “No way.”

But he decided to give the trail that leads up to the famed block Y above BYU’s campus — a strenuous 2.2 miles round trip — a try. And he’s glad that he did.

Courtesy Wade family
BYU basketball player Jesse Wade and his wife Jade pose for a photo at the top of Y Mountain.

“That hike is not easy. You’re going straight up the whole time,” Wade said. “The first few times I did it I thought, ‘My legs are going to fall off.’”

It didn’t take long for him to see the benefits of this exercise routine and he started hiking the dirt terrain and steep incline of Y Mountain six days a week.

Wade hasn’t played much since he was named Mr. Basketball by the Deseret News in 2015 due to serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to France; redshirting after transferring to BYU from Gonzaga; and suffering a major injury. For him, hiking the Y during the pandemic hasn’t just been good for Wade’s knee, it’s also been good for his soul.

There have been times in recent months that the 6-foot-1 175-pound sophomore considered ending his basketball career. Hiking the Y has been a big part of his return to basketball — one step at a time.

“It’s probably played the biggest role in my recovery other than people that have helped with my physical therapy,” he said. “The elevation, the unevenness of the trail and all those things have helped my knee and helped my quad get back to full strength. It’s been awesome.”

…read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


How does former Utah safety Marcus Williams stack up against the NFL’s top young talents?

New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams (43) works against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019, in Atlanta. | John Amis, AP

Marcus Williams has been described as ‘underappreciated’ as he heads into a contract season with the New Orleans Saints.

SALT LAKE CITY — For the past three years, former Utah free safety Marcus Williams has been a steady presence in the New Orleans Saints secondary.

He’s started all 51 games he’s played for the Saints — including five playoff games — and posted 183 tackles, 23 pass deflections and 10 interceptions thus far as a pro.

And somehow, terms like “underappreciated” and “top 25 under 25” seem to fit the unassuming, soft-spoken Williams. In recent weeks, those words have been used to describe the former Utes standout who was selected by New Orleans in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft.

“Last season, my win-contribution metric rated Williams as the sixth most valuable safety in the league.” — NFL Network’s Cynthia Frelund, on Marcus Williams

This all comes as the 23-year-old heads into a contract year with the Saints amid the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In identifying the most underappreciated player for each NFL team, NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund pointed a spotlight at Williams.

“Last season, (Pro Football Focus) counted Williams as only allowing one touchdown while earning four interceptions on 21 targets with a 47.8 passer rating allowed in 2019,” Frelund wrote. “Last season, my win-contribution metric rated Williams as the sixth most valuable safety in the league.”

Bill Feig, AP
New Orleans Saints free safety Marcus Williams (43) intercepts a pass intended for Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller (15) in the second half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 9, 2019.

He had a career-best 13 pass deflections in 2019, and Williams has twice finished a season with four interceptions, including last year when was tied for 13th in the NFL in interceptions, and fifth among safeties.

While individual accolades have been sparse as a pro — he was named to the Pro Football Writers Association all-rookie team in 2017 — there are national pundits who believe Williams will continue to grow into one of the NFL’s top safeties.

CBS Sports’ Sean Wagner-McGough listed Williams 25th on his list of the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News