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Week one KBO power rankings

Korean Baseball began their season last week. upload.wikimedia.org

Oh man, I didn't realize how much I missed Saturday baseball naps until I caught my first one of 2020. In May.

It's not because the KBO is boring, I just like my naps. In fact, week one was everything you could ask for to start off a baseball season (maybe with the exception of the 4:30 am start times, but beggars can't be choosers). We got late inning rallies and extra innings. We got walk offs and Grand Slams (which, in Korean, are referred to as "Grand Slams"). We got Boog Sciambi pointing out random knick-knacks in the background of his office to an un-amused Jessica Mendoza and if you watched via Twitch, you got those sweet sweet Korean commercials. If you like runs, the KBO's got runs. After 27 games, each match is averaging almost 11 runs per game.

I haven't even mentioned the bat flips. It's an art over there.

Week one is in the books, and I'm breaking down the entire league! Mainly because it's only ten teams.

1. Lotte Giants (5-0)

It's pronounced "loh-tay," by the way. However you say it, you're looking at an undefeated team that's averaging 7.2 runs per game. That's a pretty decent start considering that they finished last season with league-worst record of 48-93. There's still a lot of baseball to play, but at the moment they're one of only two remaining undefeated teams. Shortstop Dixon Machado stood out by batting .389 for the week to go with 3 homers and 8 RBIs, while former MLB pitcher Dan Straily has been brilliant with 15 strikeouts in 12 innings.

2. Kiwoom Heroes (5-1)

The Heroes began the season ranked at the top of ESPN's preseason power rankings and have lived up to the hype through one week of play. Aside from a wild 8th inning meltdown against the Kia Tigers, the Heroes have jumped out to a solid start for the season. Outfielder Lee Jung-Hoo has been on a tear, with a .421 batting average and 6 RBIs.

3. NC Dinos (4-1)

The Dinos may be number three in this week's power rankings, but they will forever be number one in the mascot power rankings. They swept the Lions in the beginning of the week, but split the rain-shortened series with the Twins. The Dinos have four everyday players currently batting over .300. Shortstop No Jin-Hyuk has been their standout at the plate so far with 2 home runs, 6 RBIs and a .333 batting average.

4. Doosan Bears (3-2)

The defending champs started the season off with a thud, dropping game one to the Twins 8-2. The first week has been a mixed bag of prolific offense and blowout losses. They capped the week off with a wild 11-inning 13-12 walk off victory. Pitching looks like a concern through the first week, but they be able to might make up for it at the plate. Designated hitter Jose Miguel Fernandez has an unreal .591 batting average through 22 plate appearances, followed by shortstop Kim Jae-Ho who's batting .421 so far.

5. LG Twins (2-3)

It's still early, but the Twins have some pitching kinks that need to be ironed out. After holding the Bears to only 2 runs in their season opening victory, LG has surrendered 5 or more runs in every game since. They capped the week off by handing the Dinos their first loss of the season thanks to a massive 7-run rally in the 8th. First baseman Roberto Ramos has paced the Twins with 2 home runs and a .450 batting average.

6. Samsung Lions (2-4)

After getting swept by the Dinos to start the season, the Lions recovered and won the following series against the Kia Tigers. Their pitching seems to be pretty decent, but they're not getting any help from their bats. Designated hitter Kim Dong-Yeop is one of the lone bright spots, batting .320 with 2 homers.

7. Hanwha Eagles (2-4)

After shutting out the SK Wyverns in their season opener, the Eagles have failed to hold their opposition to less than 4 runs per game. They were projected to be the worst team this season, and by all indications they are on their way.

8. Kia Tigers (2-4)

The Kia Tigers weren't good last year (62-80), and don't look to be much different this year after week one. Astros fans may recognize Kyle Tucker's older brother Preston roaming the outfield and crushing it at the plate (.476 BA, 3 HRs, 11 RBIs). There isn't much offense beyond Tucker though, and the pitching hasn't shown up for them either. They did finish the week with a pretty solid 12-3 win against the Lions, but that was a day after being dropped 14-2.

9. KT Wiz (1-4)

Oof. After being swept by the undefeated Giants, the Wiz suffered a heartbreaking 12-13 loss to the Doosan Bears to close out the week. They have the youngest pitching staff in the league, which can be identified by the opposition averaging 7.8 runs/game.

10. SK Wyverns (1-4)

Offense seems to come a long pretty easy in the KBO, unless you're a Wyvern apparently. SK is the only team so far to have been shut out more than once. Don't expect much to turn around.

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The Rockets selected Jalen Green with the No. 2 pick. Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images.

The city of Houston can finally rejoice as Jalen Green was selected as the number two pick by the Rockets at the 2021 NBA Draft. It was already suspected that the Rockets would draft Green from past reports. Shams Charania of The Athletic already reported that the Rockets narrowed their decision down to Green.

Green is an explosive shooting guard that can get in-and-out amongst the perimeter and paint. With the G-League Ignite, he averaged 17.9 points, 2.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He is an excellent free throw shooter at 82.9 percent. Like James Harden, he is incredibly good at getting to the free throw line. Green has a good trigger from three by shooting 36.5 percent on 5.7 attempts a game. His mature status since high school has prepared him for the NBA.

"His down-hill playmaking is really hard to guard", as Joey Fucca, his ex-coach told TDS. "If he says he's going to get to the rim, good luck. He is very good at getting to the free throw line, he is also very explosive to finish above the rim. When his three ball is on, you're just going to have a long night. I wouldn't be excited to guard him."

Green has blistering speed with outstanding handles to blow by his defenders and score. Spectators have compared Green to a younger Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Bradley Beal, and Zach Lavine, which are superstar players. He is a particularly good midrange shooter underneath the perimeter, as he shot 35 percent on a small quantity of attempts in a shorter season.

"Jalen is a uniquely blessed guy. He's a transcendent athlete," as Rockets GM Rafael Stone said. "He can handle the ball, and he can shoot. Normally, people that athletic aren't as skilled. We think that combination of tools makes him an extraordinarily exciting prospect."

During his press conference on Thursday night, Green emphasized the achievements he wants to accomplish with the Rockets. Green even discussed his desire of being a better defender, as he wants to continue to get better. He has a great wingspan and lateral movement to stay with opposing players on defense and be disruptive in the passing lanes.

"They're going to say it's a great choice," Green said. "Rookie of the Year, All-Star, All-Defense, max contract. We're doing it big."

"Yeah, I think I can be that piece. I think I'm going to bring that dominant mentality, that defensive mindset…They already got a lot of star players"

As the draft continued, the Rockets sent future draft picks from the Wizards to land the 16th pick in the draft, which was 6'10 Alperen Sengun from Turkey. The 16th pick did belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder until Rafael Stone executed an interesting deal with Sam Presti.

"We did not think he would fall to us at 23, so we were really aggressive to try and move up all throughout the first round to acquire him," as Stone said.

Sengun's abilities on the court revolve around his post ups and skillful passing. He even maintains good feet along the baseline. In his press conference, he mentioned his passing skills can become better. There are clips of him looking impressive on shovel passes, passing the ball behind his back, and finding the cutting man towards the basket. Sengun looked good in double teams by showing he can still find the open man with his back turned.

While playing in the Turkish Super League, Sengun was an MVP at 18-years-old, averaged 19.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.5 assist, 1.7 blocks, and 1.3 steals per game. He could be another huge figure next to Christian Wood on the court, and a safety blanket for the Rockets if they cannot bring back Kelly Olynyk.

Usman Garbua is similar to former Rocket Luc Mbah a Moute. He is 6'8 with a tremendous wingspan at 7'3 and can guard anyone on the court, which is 1-5. Garbua was seen guarding Kevin Durant in the Team USA vs. Spain matchup and had interesting battles. The Rockets will get a ton of energy out of the 19-year-old player. He knows how to run the floor in transition, so he can finish around the rim. As I see it, he could be on a defensive first team in the future as he matures more. Garbua will become a defensive nightmare against opposing players.

"I think he's the best defender in the world outside of the NBA, and he's just 19 years old," Stone said. "I think he potentially could be really, really impactful on that side of the ball."

As the Rockets made their last selection, they selected Green's AAU buddy, Josh Christopher from Arizona State. He impressed a ton of scouts during his draft workouts and scrimmage against other prospects. Christopher had a double-double during his third scrimmage, which was 16 points and 10 rebounds. He is a very shifty guard with a ferocious step back.

While playing with the Sun Devils, he averaged 14.3 points per game and shot 49 percent from the field. Just like Green, he loved the midrange opportunities, as he shot 49.6 percent underneath the perimeter. He is another shifty big body the Rockets will have in their back court at 6'5. Christopher is very good at rebounding and playing defense. Stone loves watching him in defensive one-on-one situations. Christopher has Sixth Man of the Year written all over him because of his stocky body type and upside.

Hopefully, the Rockets have an exciting summer league and training camp along with their season.

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