The most interesting storyline of the 2011 NFL Draft -- the reason it is absolutely must-see, even if this season you are inclined to skip it (perhaps for the Lakers-Hornets game on at the same time) -- is because this is when Roger Goodell meets the fans, the boisterous fans of the NFL Draft, in primetime on national TV.
And how those fans react -- likely with boos -- will be the most powerful symbol of where the league stands with this lockout, even more powerful than the "STAY DENIED" from last night from Judge Susan Nelson.
Yes, whether the Panthers take Cam Newton will be interesting. Yes, the other picks of the 1st round -- particularly the number of QBs (and perhaps trades to get QBs) -- will be interesting, in their own way.
But the real drama this year is between Commissioner and his fans.
(Can't you picture some toady whispering to the Commish: "Sir, they're not saying 'Boo!' They're saying 'Gooooo!-dell.'")
Spurs shock Grizzlies, everyone else: The Spurs were done. Manu's toe was on the line, the 3 became a 2 and the Spurs were finished, a 1-seed humiliated in 5 games in one of the most shocking results in NBA Playoffs history. And then: Gary Neal. Amazing.
Will Cam Newton go No. 1 overall? Yes. And I really hope that his career lives up to that selection. I think he has the talent. I have no questions about his character. As with Tebow a year ago, what will make or break Newton's career is the willingness of the Panthers coach staff to reject NFL strategic orthodoxy and build a new offense around the talents of their new QB.
Heat close out Sixers: All that matters is that it sets up the Miami-Boston conference semifinal showdown that is the apex of the playoffs this year -- it is more important/interesting than the Finals themselves (unless it is, say, Lakers-Heat). I'll say Celtics in 5.
Thunder close out Nuggets: Now that they're both bounced out, it would be fun for the Nuggets and Knicks to have an exhibition 7-game series, wouldn't it? Maybe on off nights during the conference finals?
Bruins dispatch Habs in Game 7 OT: That series absolutely lived up to all the pre-series expectations. Exceeded them, actually. How often does that happen?
Roger McDowell: He should be fired. Period. It goes beyond the worst judgment for a coach and representative of the team and league and goes to the idea that this is just a bad guy. The Braves can find a pitching coach that is just as good as McDowell -- without the bigoted baggage.