It is amazing how much the rest of the sports world has been tuned out over the last two weeks while focusing on the World Cup. I’ve avoided ESPN for the most part, in the hope of writing original content. But there’s actually a ton going on. While I nervously await the USA-Portugal match, I want to share my thoughts on a couple sports stories outside of soccer.
Who knew Wimbledon was starting tomorrow? I am a big tennis fan, but I’d completely forgotten about one of the best events of the summer until quite recently. Haven’t there been more advertisements for the U.S. Open in September than for Wimbledon? Anyway, the tennis should be full of intrigue this year, and will be well worth some attention. There are so many interesting story lines at the All-England Club this go around. We have Rafael Nadal coming off of yet another incredible run at the French Open, having struggled mightily on grass recently. Then there’s top-seeded Novak Djokovic, who despite a great year of tennis, has not won a major in nearly 18 months, something that would have seemed unthinkable not that long ago. I was not a fan of Djokovic’s decision to switch coaches this past winter, so for me he has a lot to prove in these next two weeks.
Don’t forget about Roger Federer. I believe he’s got two runs left in him at major tournaments, and one might very well come here. He knows his time at the top is running out quickly, and crowing his career with a final Wimbledon victory would be the ultimate reward. And how could we not mention Andy Murray? Since he won Wimbledon last year, getting the monkey off Britain’s proverbial back, he has sometimes lacked the same intensity. A few weeks playing in front of his home crowd might get him going again. There are many other names who could succeed this tournament, as the men’s tennis world has opened up in recent months, but I think the winner comes from these well-known four. I tip Djokovic to take home the crown.
Another major story line this week has been the Joel Embiid injury. While it is obviously a devastating blow for the young big-man, it may be incredible news for Celtics fans like me. Having seen our hopes for landing Kevin Love fade in recent days, with some reports suggesting the team might go in the completely opposite direction and trade Rajon Rondo, the injury offers a glimmer of hope. That Embiid might slip into our hands is tantalizing. I don’t think he’ll slide all the way to the sixth pick, but he could. Should he be there, the Celtics have to take a chance on him. His upside is tremendous obviously, and given that the Celtics probably are at least a year away, they are in no hurry to see him produce immediately, and could wait for him to be healthy, however long that may take.
The question is, if Orlando is picking at four, and Embiid is still on the board, would the Celtics want to trade up for him there? Given the riskiness of the pick, how much would you give up to trade up two spots? I think I’d be willing to trade up for him, but only if the cost was reasonable – maybe the 6 pick and a future first. Otherwise, call their bluff and hope Embiid is still there at six. If we don’t get Love, Embiid would be a nice consolation. I’ll have a post about my ideal Celtics’ picks on Wednesday. Stay tuned.
Now, back to the soccer. Brutal to see Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen pick up an injury in his big chance. Let’s hope this isn’t the last chance he gets.