By Jose M. Romero
PHOENIX If Cubs manager Dale Sveum thought he could put the Anthony Rizzo talk on ice for a few days while his team played a weekend series in Arizona after Sveum said the star prospect wouldnt join the club here he thought wrong.
Sveum fielded more questions about Rizzo before Saturdays game. Asked what expectations would be on Rizzo when he arrives, Sveum said part of the process the Cubs are trying to implement is to fill the organization with young players like Rizzo.
Sveum said the only player with close to the kind of hype generated for Rizzo that he has experienced was Ryan Braun when Sveum was coaching in Milwaukee. Braun didnt play as many minor-league games as Rizzo before coming up.
I dont think that Ive really been around anybody thats had this much hype getting ready to come up, Sveum said of Rizzo. Just being around him for the 30 days or so in spring training, he seemed to be a guy that was very ahead of the game maturity-wise. He has all those leadership skills and those kind of things. I think we all have to be a little bit patient and understand that the game is a lot different here than it is in Triple-A.
Sveum was asked if he was anxious to put Rizzo in the batting order, and said it would be nice to have extra firepower in the lineup.
When you just have threats that can hit home runs at any given time, its always nice to have those kind of guys in the lineup, Sveum said.
Also from Sveum before Saturdays game against the Arizona Diamondbacks:
-Its not fair for fans and observers to demand that Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano return to his 40-40 (home run and stolen base) days, or even close to it, from the past decade, Sveum said. When you get to that age (Soriano is 36) not too many people are 40-40 after 35 years old, it just doesnt happen, Sveum said, noting stolen bases in particular. Its unrealistic to think that someones going to be what they were at 25 years old, especially the stuff he was doing.
We asked you to ask us anything about the White Sox and you delivered in a big way. We got so many questions, we had to do two different podcasts! Among the questions here in Part 1: should the White Sox send Yoan Moncada to Triple-A? What players will be traded before the deadline? Who are some sleeper prospects in the minors? Will Jordan Stephens be called up before Michael Kopech? Should Juan Uribe be a team ambassador? What's our all-time White Sox team from 2000 to the present and many more.
Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:
Michael Porter Jr. grabbed some attention when he remarked that he was "perfect fit for today's NBA game" during an appearance on The Will Cain Show.
The interview went a long way towards showing off the uber-confident nature of Porter, who has consistently talked about being the best player in his class throughout the draft process. Porter also remarked that he was "an immediate impact guy," and that he "doesn't want it to take long to be one of the best players in the NBA."
His hubris has been intruiging considering the mystery surrounding the prospect.
During the interview Porter added that he would be open to doing more workouts for NBA front offices ahead of Thursday's NBA Draft. The only workout he has completed so far was his pro day workout in Chicago, and multiple reports have cited that Porter did look good shooting, though he was in an isolated setting with no defenders.
The one thing Porter has not done much throughout the process is talk about his weaknesses, which is somewhat concerning seeing as he has much to improve on. The general consensus is that a healthy Porter can get buckets at will. But if he can improve his ball-handling, rebounding and passing skills, he will be much more than a go-to scorer. Tightening his ball-handling skills is likely the key, as the ability to grab the rebound and push in transition would be a huge boon for Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg's offense.
The biggest question when it comes to Porter on the Bulls is can he fit with Lauri Markkanen? Despite receiving many favorable Kevin Durant and Paul George comparisons leading up to the draft, there is a rising sentiment that his best position in the NBA may be the power forward spot. It is not yet known if he has the foot speed to stay in front of quicker wings in today's NBA. But at six-feet-ten-inches, it is easy to imagine him having a huge advantage against slower power forwards rather than wings. While Markkanen is not currently built to be a full-time center, playing him at the five with Porter at the four would present Hoiberg with a potentially devastating closing lineup.
Versatility is the name of the game in today's league, and Michael Porter Jr. may be the key to unlocking the full potential of Hoiberg's pace-and-space attack.