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Colin Cowherd: The Steelers’ years of winning the AFC North are over I THE HERD

The Pittsburgh Steelers are looking to bounce back from a rough ending of the 2020 season, where they entered Week 13 with an 11-0 record but lost four of their final five games. They lost to AFC North rival Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card Round. Despite Mike Tomlin never having a losing record in his coaching tenure with the Steelers, there are arguably some what-ifs over the years. Colin Cowherd explains why he believes the Steelers wasted many years and that their winning window is closed.

2 HOURS AGO・The Herd with Colin Cowherd・5:28

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Shannon Sharpe: The Bucs won’t be light years ahead of everyone, but there will be no struggles out of the box I UNDISPUTED

FOX Bet Sportsbook has the Kansas City Chiefs as the favorites to win the Super Bowl, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers close behind with the second-best odds. However, Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans thinks their team is being underrated a bit, saying quote: ‘We’re miles ahead of what we were last year… the whole team, the whole offense, it’s really exciting and hopefully we can do something really special this year.’ Shannon Sharpe explains why the Bucs won’t be ‘light years ahead of everyone, but won’t struggle out of the box.’

AN HOUR AGO・Skip and Shannon: Undisputed・2:24

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Shannon Sharpe: I like the Lakers signing Deandre Jordan; they’ll be more of what they were two years ago I UNDISPUTED

According to reports, DeAndre Jordan intends to join the Los Angeles Lakers after getting a contract buyout from the Detroit Pistons. Jordan played for the Brooklyn Nets for the past two seasons before getting traded to Detroit in a salary dump this past week. Now, the veteran bigman will join a Lakers’ frontcourt that already has Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard. Shannon Sharpe reacts to the reports on Jordan joining the Lakers and explains why he feels it’s a good move for Los Angeles.

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Skip Bayless: In the next two years, Lebron has no chance to win again; this Nets’ team is all-time loaded I UNDISPUTED

The Brooklyn Nets may be rivaling the Los Angeles Lakers in terms of adding the most veteran starpower this offseason. After signing former All-Star Paul Millsap this week, Brooklyn is reportedly among the leaders to sign LaMarcus Aldridge. The 36-year-old abruptly retired from the Nets in April due to an irregular heartbeat, but the seven-time All-Star is now cleared to resume his NBA career. Skip Bayless explains why ‘LeBron has no chance to win another ring in the next two years’ after the Nets’ veteran signings this week.

AN HOUR AGO・Skip and Shannon: Undisputed・3:14

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Field of Dreams: Ray Liotta recalls making the movie 33 years before the Yankees and White Sox take the field


Field of Dreams: Ray Liotta recalls making the movie 33 years before the Yankees and White Sox take the field | FOX Sports


Field of Dreams: Ray Liotta recalls making the movie 33 years before the Yankees and White Sox take the field

Go back 33 years with Ray Liotta to see how a small farm town in Iowa became the center of the baseball world for one summer. Plus, Alex Rodriguez, Frank Thomas, and David Ortiz share their memories of the movie ahead of the highly-anticipated Field of Dreams game between the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox.

AN HOUR AGO・MLB・3:53

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Chris Broussard on reports of Kawhi snubbing Russ to play with PG two years ago: He’ll want to prove Kawhi wrong I UNDISPUTED

Russell Westbrook almost landed in Los Angeles two years ago, but not with the Lakers. According to a new report, Russ apparently asked Kawhi Leonard about a Clippers’ teamup two years ago. However, Kawhi turned around and asked Paul George to join forces instead. Chris Broussard reacts to the reports and explains why he feels this will ‘motivate Westbrook to prove Kawhi and other people wrong that he can win.’

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Nick Wright: Derrick Rose is the reason Knicks win their first playoff game in 8 years | FIRST THINGS FIRST

The New York Knicks defeated the Atlanta Hawks 101-92, their first playoff victory in 8 years. The Game 2 win sparked a huge gathering outside Madison Square Garden, as fans celebrated the Knicks evening out the series 1-1. Nick Wright shares his biggest takeaways from last night’s game, and lays out why the Knicks owe this victory to Derrick Rose, who put his team on his back when they fell behind and got them back in the series.

AN HOUR AGO・First Things First・1:48

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The WNBA Drafted The Most International Players In 20 Years. But Its Rosters Aren’t Big Enough For Everyone.

It’s long been known that the WNBA has too few roster spots for the vast universe of women’s basketball talent it draws from. The league has maintained a steady group of 12 teams — and, therefore, 144 on-court job opportunities — for more than six seasons now, even as the popularity of the game has grown and the pool of available players has deepened. Today’s WNBA is so deep that even its second-round draft picks have star potential.

Because of this, there are a lot of talented players who won’t be on a WNBA roster this season. That issue is highlighted by an uptick in talent from outside the United States. The U.S. has been the leader in women’s basketball globally since 1992, the last time it lost a game in the Olympics. But the rest of the world has begun to develop elite talent as well, adding to the logjam for spots in the league. 

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Just look at this year’s WNBA draft: International picks were a popular choice, starting with the No. 2 overall section, Awak Kuier of Finland, who was drafted by the Dallas Wings. In all, seven players — including three in the first round — were drafted this year directly from other countries instead of from American college basketball programs. That’s more than in any season since the seven taken in 2001, when the league had 16 teams and drafted four rounds of players.

The increase in international draftees is a credit to the globalization of the women’s game, of course. But it also has to do with the paucity of roster spots: International picks don’t have to be rostered right away and can keep playing overseas, while the teams keep the draft rights to those players. That can work out as an “extra player” for the long term for the teams that choose not to add the player immediately. (Most domestic players can’t be selected until the calendar year that they turn 22, but overseas players who don’t play collegiately in the U.S. are typically eligible the year that they turn 20.)

The 2021 WNBA draft was a global affair

Players selected in the 2021 WNBA draft, plus their college or nationality

Pick Team Player Position From
1 Dallas Wings Charli Collier C Texas
2 Dallas Wings Awak Kuier F Finland
3 Atlanta Dream Aari McDonald G Arizona
4 Indiana Fever Kysre Gondrezick G West Virginia
5 Dallas Wings Chelsea Dungee G Arkansas
6 New York Liberty Michaela Onyenwere F UCLA
7 Los Angeles Sparks Jasmine Walker F Alabama
8 Chicago Sky Shyla Heal G Australia
9 Minnesota Lynx Rennia Davis F Tennessee
10 Los Angeles Sparks Stephanie Watts G North Carolina 
11 Seattle Storm Aaliyah Wilson* G Texas A&M
12 Las Vegas Aces Iliana Rupert C France
13 Dallas Wings Dana Evans G Louisville
14 Las Vegas Aces Destiny Slocum G Arkansas
15 Atlanta Dream Raquel Carrera Quintana C Spain
16 Chicago Sky Natasha Mack F Oklahoma State
17 New York Liberty DiDi Richards G Baylor
18 Seattle Storm Kiana Williams G Stanford
19 Indiana Fever Unique Thompson F Auburn
20 Connecticut Sun DiJonai Carrington G Baylor
21 Connecticut Sun Micaela Kelly G Central Michigan
22 Los Angeles Sparks Arella Guirantes G Rutgers
23 Seattle Storm N’dea Jones F Texas A&M
24 Indiana Fever Trinity Baptiste F Arizona
25 New York Liberty Valerie Higgins G Pacific
26 Indiana Fever Chelsey Perry F UT Martin
27 Atlanta Dream Lindsey Pulliam G Northwestern
28 Los Angeles Sparks Ivana Raca F Wake Forest
29 New York Liberty Marine Fauthoux G France
30 Connecticut Sun Aleah Goodman G Oregon State
31 Indiana Fever Florencia Chagas G Argentina
32 Phoenix Mercury Ciera Johnson C Texas A&M
33 Indiana Fever Maya Caldwell G Georgia
34 Los Angeles Sparks Aina Ayuso G Spain
35 Seattle Storm Natalie Kucowski F Lafayette
36 Las Vegas Aces Kionna Jeter G Towson

*Traded to Indiana Fever for Kennedy Burke.

Source: Sports Illustrated, basketball-reference.com

Kuier is the first Finnish player ever to be drafted. The 19-year-old, who turns 20 in August, had been playing with future Dallas teammate Isabelle Harrison on the Italian team Passalacqua Ragusa during the winter season. Raquel Carrera Quintana became the highest-drafted Spanish player ever when the Atlanta Dream selected her with the third pick of the second round, 15th overall. She earned some attention in the FIBA EuroCup Final when she sank two free throws with a second left to win the game.

Australia’s Shyla Heal was projected to go anywhere from the late first round to the middle of the second before the Chicago Sky made her the No. 8 overall selection. In a draft where Louisville’s Dana Evans and other elite guards were available, it spoke volumes that the Sky, who desperately needed a backup point guard, went with Heal. In the third round, Indiana added Argentina’s Florencia Chagas with the seventh pick (31st overall), and the Los Angeles Sparks took Aina Ayuso from Spain with the ninth pick (33rd overall). Chagas was assigned to the suspended list after signing her rookie contract, making her ineligible to start the season. That gives the Fever a full roster spot, and they retain her rights.

And remember those 144 roster spots across the entire WNBA? Paradoxically — given the overflow of talent in the women’s game right now — there will probably be fewer than 144 players on teams when the season begins on May 14. Salary cap restrictions have made it difficult for clubs to sign players for the future. And rookies and second-year players, even first-round talent, may find it difficult to crack a roster. Plus some teams may want to save room for talented players who will be waived or released by another team. Because of all these factors, some of the 12 WNBA teams will elect to carry just 11 players, further cutting down the number of jobs available to the best athletes in the sport.

The development of the women’s game across the globe, and the amount of top-notch talent being left off WNBA rosters, has raised the question of league expansion. The WNBA peaked with 16 teams in 2000, just three years after the league was founded, and has sat at 12 teams since 2010.

“It’s certainly on the list of things that I’ve been thinking about down the road. It’s interesting to note how competitive and how deep the talent in the league is,” commissioner Cathy Engelbert said to reporters right before this year’s draft. “It’s certainly something that, as we’ve come out of this pandemic, hopefully next year that we’ll prepare to start talking about. I think if we have a very successful season this year, this time next year, we can certainly start talking about what expansion would look like, how many [teams], and the time frame over which that would occur.”

It’s a different landscape for women’s basketball — and women’s sports as a whole — in 2021. The WNBA saw record ratings in 2020 and has garnered more of an appetite for coverage. The league is more attractive than ever, not only for consumers but also for athletes. If the influx in international talent this year is any indication, the cries for more roster spots might soon be too much for the WNBA to ignore.

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