Rand: Wrapping up the weekend

  • Article by: MICHAEL RAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 30, 2014 - 6:45 AM

Four thoughts to wrap up the weekend in sports:

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Zach LaVine didn’t last into the future at UCLA, but it appears he was picked by the Wolves with the future in mind.

Photo: Ringo H.W. Chiu, Associated Press

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• Wolves coach and President of Basketball Operations Flip Saunders talked after the pick of Zach LaVine at No. 13 about hitting home runs instead of doubles, which was not a knock on Joe Mauer but rather a metaphor for trying to get players with upside rather than known commodities. I liked Michigan State’s Adreian Payne at that spot, but Payne is 23, while LaVine is 19. We know more about his game than we do LaVine’s game. However, the Wolves flat-out need good players. Payne is a good player. We will see if this becomes another draft blunder.

That said, we can’t accuse Saunders of playing simply for the present with that pick, and that’s a healthy thing to see when it comes to Kevin Love. The biggest mistake the Wolves could make is trying to load up for one more year of Love in order to try to convince him to stay.

• Speaking of Mauer, it’s amazing how a 10-game hitting streak can put a halt to the “what’s wrong with Joe?” stories and silence at least the majority of the Mauer critics on Twitter. Mauer has 10 runs batted in during that 10-game streak. He was a terrible 7-for-49 (.143) with runners in scoring position through the first part of the season. Since then, he is 8-for-15 in that situation, including an RBI single on Sunday.

• Four years ago, I was outraged when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh conspired to team up on the Heat. Now that they have the option again and are trying to figure out their contracts, I don’t really care. The reason is simple: Those three together aren’t good enough anymore to be the core of an NBA championship team, as the Spurs showed by breezing past Miami in the NBA Finals.

• We’re into a fresh round of Johnny Manziel stories, and we’re not even out of June yet. The latest for the Browns’ rookie quarterback is that Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam doesn’t like some of Manziel’s antics on social media and wants him to tone down his act. Manziel, meanwhile, told reporters on Friday: “I don’t think I’m doing anything wrong, and I’m not going to change for anybody. I’m going to enjoy my time off.”

It’s a classic staredown, and the outcome in these situations is almost always the same: If Manziel produces as a pro, people will stop criticizing his off-field life. If he fails, he will be burned at the moral stake.

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