- The Washington Times - Monday, May 16, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Once again, it’s time to check off some items on my “TIDU List” — Things I Don’t Understand:

How we’ll ever solve ‘most valuable’ versus ‘the best’

Take LeBron James away from the Cavaliers, and Cleveland is just another middling team in the muddled Eastern Conference. Take Stephen Curry away from the Warriors, and Golden State remains an elite contender in the rugged Western Conference. That would be James’ argument if he stumped for the Most Valuable Player award, which went to Curry last week. It’s a never-ending debate.

But Curry was the clear choice this year — on both counts.

Why the Nationals forced Mike Rizzo to wait so long

The general manager’s hits-to-strikeouts ratio has been impressive in building a multiyear contender. Only the St. Louis Cardinals have more wins since 2011 — 465 compared to the Nationals’ 443. Rizzo and his staff drafted or traded for virtually every player on the 25-man roster, with some lopsided deals to his credit. Yet ownership left him hanging before picking up his option last week.

He lucked into historic No. 1 picks, but has played his hand superbly.

How to erase baseball’s unwritten rules

When does one epic bat flip equal a hit by pitch and a haymaker? When the Texas Rangers get payback on the Toronto Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista, seven months and seven games after the fact. Rougned Odor socked Bautista in the face on Sunday after Matt Bush drilled the slugger in the ribs. Bautista didn’t help matters with a super-late slide into Odor, who previously displayed his overhand right five years ago in the minors.

Odor clearly ignores another unwritten rule: No real punches.

Why Bryce Harper can’t be next

Two thoughts raced to mind when Stephen Strasburg signed a lengthy extension with the Nationals. First was disbelief, as no one saw it coming with free agency looming. Second was wonderment, as in what it means for Harper’s long-term prospects here. He’s in line for a historic contract — whoever signs him — and we can only hope the man-love between agent Scott Boras and owner Ted Lerner pays off.

Two superstars are better than one, especially if the latter plays every day.

How Melo Trimble can leave for the NBA now

We know that four of Maryland’s starters won’t be back next season. Underclassmen Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr. have hired agents, while Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon have exhausted their eligibility. The possible exception is would-be junior Melo Trimble, who has until May 25 to pull out of the NBA draft. Considering his pedestrian performance at the combine, his decision should be easy.

Being a second-round pick (or undrafted) isn’t worth the financial risk.

Why acting like a jerk is so beloved by so many

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich intentionally embarrasses and intimidates reporters for simply doing their jobs. And balls bounce. But Popovich shouldn’t get a free pass for being dismissive and condescending, even if some questions lack intellectual rigor. Being rude and obnoxious sets a terrible example for a supposed role model. We don’t want players behaving like that and coaches should face the same expectations.

His act isn’t cool or charming; it’s childish.

How Kirk Cousins can contain himself

Washington already possessed one of the NFL’s best tight ends (Jordan Reed) and one of the best deep threats (DeSean Jackson). Wideout Jamison Crowder is coming off a 59-reception season, a team record for catches by a rookie (formerly held by Art Monk). Now Cousins has another target in first-round pick Josh Doctson. “He’s been very impressive in everything,” coach Jay Gruden told reporters.

Just another reason — besides his impending payday — for Cousins’ big smile.

Why the Capitals can’t get over the hump

There’s no magic potion, secret pill, quick fix or easy remedy. Not even a general consensus on what’s wrong at playoff time. For all of the Capitals’ regular-season success, individual accolades and team records, the Stanley Cup eludes them. But they’re really close. “You have maybe five or six teams that should contend for the Cup and we’re one of them,” general manager Brian MacLellan said on Monday.

He’s right, so back to the tweaking board.

How Tom O’Brien could’ve been any wronger

When it comes to famous last words, the former N.C. State coach can’t live down alleged comments to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who retold the story during a graduation speech at Wisconsin: “Listen son, you’re never going to play in the NFL. You’re too small. There’s no chance. You got no shot, give it up.” Wilson won the Super Bowl two years later.

He was only a third-round pick, though, which give O’Brien plenty of company.

Why the 76ers landed a sponsor before any other team

They have averaged 16 wins per season since 2013-14, but found a company for their game jerseys under the NBA’s new policy. “We’re about being first, being different, being innovative …” 76ers CEO Scott O’Neil told ESPN. “This is strategic beachhead property for us,” StubHub CEO Scott Cutler said. It looks more like a slum from here, but fans will need his company to dump unwanted tickets.

At least the 76ers didn’t finish last in this arena, too.


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