FALCON POINTS

NFL Draft is a welcome sports respite, but we should enjoy it while we can

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The NFL Draft will be held this week, and like everything else these days, it will be done virtually. For the viewer, this won't be much of a problem. We really don't need to see Roger Goodell hug every draft pick. The reality is, all we care about is who will be going to which team. So from a fan's standpoint, nothing changes. And that's a good thing, because this is the closest we will get to sports for a long time.

The worst-case scenarios

While sports leagues are exploring every option to return as soon as possible, there are a lot of experts hinting that having any sports in 2020 might be improbable. From a practical standpoint, this would suck for all of us as fans, not to mention those of us who do sports talk and run a website called SportsMap.

But lost has been the potential impact on the leagues themselves. The NFL was counting on new TV deals for increased revenue and an ever-expanding salary cap. But will the money still be there as companies struggle? If there are no fans, no concessions, how much revenue will be lost? And even if the fans are allowed back, how many will no longer be able to afford to go to games? How many companies, crippled by the loss of revenue, will be able to afford suites?

And this will obviously trickle down to all sports, including college football, the NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS. In the worst-case scenario, could we see some teams simply no longer able to survive? Contraction could become a real possibility in the worst-case scenario. Not to mention all the jobs related to these leagues - sports bars, transportation, and yes, sports talk and sports Web sites.

More than just sports

Obviously, in the grand scheme of things, sports aren't the only things that might not come back in the form we recognize them. Concerts and event venues. Movie theaters. All forms of entertainment are going to be impacted, and not in a good way. Not to mention the jobs that have already been lost in the non-entertainment industry, and those that are going to be lost moving forward. The sports world kind of pales in comparison to that, but the impact these leagues have on the economy does not.

Some good news

Yes, horse racing is still out there fattening the curve, as is the WWE, even with no fans in attendance. So we do have a few things to watch. But the draft will give us a taste of a major sport. We can fret over what the Texans might do with their second day picks. Discuss whether or not the Cowboys should pay Dak or make a move for another QB. Where will Tua go? Is Joe Burrow a lock to go No. 1? Will the virtual draft go off without a hitch? What boneheaded move will Bill O'Brien make? Let's enjoy these few days of sports normalcy.

Because who knows when we will have them again?

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The Rockets may be the smartest guys in the room. Or the cheapest

The Rockets have their new head coach. Composite photo by Brandon Strange

On Wednesday afternoon, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news that the Rockets' coaching search had come to an end finally. The front office tabbed Mavericks assistant Stephen Silas as the successor to Mike D'Antoni, beating out former Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy and current Rockets assistant John Lucas.

Knee jerk reaction?

I'm not mad at it. I expected Jeff Van Gundy to be the next hire, but maybe that was just nostalgia clouding my judgment. Either way, the Silas hire should be viewed optimistically. He's been highly regarded for some time around the league as an inventive mind that comes from basketball pedigree and has worked with big-name guards in prior stops around the league. If the Rockets didn't grab him, it was only a matter of time before another team gave him a shot.

Now there are two very distinct ways to look at this hire:

The first is that the Rockets, in spite of being one of the last teams to fill their coaching vacancy, are the smartest kids in the room. Every team is looking for the next version of what the Celtics found in their current head coach, Brad Stevens; a young brilliant coach that just needed a team to give him a shot. Hired at 37 from the college ranks, Stevens endured one losing season (his first) and has since guided the Celtics to six playoff appearances, to include three conference finals appearances. Not bad, considering he was up against LeBron James for most of those.

That is what it looks like the Rockets are trying to go for. Now at 47, Silas probably won't be mistaken for a wunderkind, but compared to 69-year-old D'Antoni, he might as well be announcing his hire on Tik Tok. If it works out, the Rockets will have once again been one step ahead of the league with the hiring of their innovative new coach.

The other way to look at the Silas hire is a little less rosy.

While Silas is only 47, he's also been an assistant in the league since he was 27. The positive spin on his resume is that he's worked with star players the likes of Kemba Walker, LeBron James, and Stephen Curry. The reality is that he worked with them while they were very young in their careers, and worked on teams like the Cavaliers, Bobcats/Hornets, Wizards, and Warriors (when they were bad). Until the last two seasons working with Luka Doncic on the Mavericks, there hasn't been a lot of success following Silas. That's not necessarily an indictment since he was an assistant, but it's not exactly a sparkling pedigree.

So while this could be a brilliant hire, at the moment, it has all of the markings of the cheaper hire. As I've mentioned before, Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has been quite vocal about the financial impact that COVID-19 has had on his portfolio. Clips and quotes moaning and groaning about losing money are not typically precursors to an owner gearing up to make a big financial investment in the front office of a sports team that he can't sell tickets for anyone to come see. If in fact, money factored in more than fit, it would make sense that the Rockets would forego a coach like Van Gundy, whose previous head coaching experience would automatically command a higher starting price. We'll, of course, have to wait and see what the actual contract figures are once released.

It could be one. It could be the other. It could be both. Hopefully it translates into wins either way.

One thing that's for certain though is that Silas needs to take some pointers from Russell Westbrook and James Harden before he steps out courtside in any more of those TJ Maxx suits, circa 2000. Big boy job means big boy suits.

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