Don't Kill The Mellinger

Twitter Tuesday: Joel Embiid, Chiefs fans sulking (still), Ervin Santana, DGB

Updated: 2014-01-14T20:04:54Z

By SAM MELLINGER

The Kansas City Star

So, I guess two months into a season Andrew Wiggins entered as the preseason national player of the year in some circles he is no longer the best player in his own frontcourt?

Is that where we are?

Joel Embiid is a spectacle. Seven feet tall with a soccer player’s feet, a volleyball player’s quick jumps, the earnestness of a young man learning a new game and the ambition of a smart guy starting to realize how good he can be. KU beat eighth-ranked Iowa State last night, 77-70, and Embiid was the third-highest scorer on his team but the most jaw-dropping: 16 points, nine rebounds, seven blocks and, maybe, three or four plays you probably won’t see anyone else in the country make this year.

There is a lot to take from that game last night, actually. Naadir Tharpe was very good, scoring 23 points on just nine shots. Andrew Wiggins had the kind of game that is spectacular for anyone else (17 points and 19 rebounds) but seems to be digested as mediocre by a segment of fans that were expecting some nightly combination of Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

Even as Embiid, Wiggins and Tharpe combined for 17 turnovers alone, this is a team coming together and looking very much like the group that should be favored to win the league again.

If only someone told you this was going to happen a month ago.

Either way, the league is turning into something much better than a lot of us expected. KU, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and K-State are either 3-0 or 2-1. Iowa State and Texas are 2-2 with an intriguing ceiling. Baylor is 1-1 with the same.

KU plays Oklahoma State in Lawrence this weekend, K-State has an interesting game in Austin a week from today.

It’s fun when your expectations are exceeded as a sports fan.

Like with Embiid.

The reading recommendation is Mike Vaccaro on A-Rod’s gravest sin, and the eating recommendation is the shrimp spiedini at Garozzo’s. Seriously. Try it.

As always, thanks for your help and for reading.

Very, very little.

Only my dog thinks I have great powers. And my wife, sometimes^.

^ Try the veal!

Just wait until you see the bill.

Dane needs a hug, guys.

The world’s best coffee, I’m convinced, is the Starbucks Christmas blend. I’m quite sure I’m falling for a marketing ploy here, but it’s how I feel. We’re in the trust tree here.

After that, try the coffee at Room 39. Actually, try the coffee at Room 39 with the crazy good breakfast. I think it’s a Roasterie blend they have done, so you can’t get it in stores, but it’s amazing.

At home, I’m not picky. The darker the better. Usually it’s whatever I pick up at Costco.

You’ve followed this team a few years, huh?

Look, I don’t think the restructure is necessarily a prelude to anything — and it’s definitely not Yuni. I’m taking the Royals at their word, for now, that it gives them a little flexibility for something this year but it’s also easy to think there is a little bit of hey-what-the-heck-can’t-we-knock-a-few-mil-off-the-bill-here? from ownership.

Every once in a while I’m reminded of what it feels like to not care about sports, to have a mass of people talking and reading and obsessing over something silly and frivolous and altogether irrelevant for real life.

And then the Golden Gloves happen. Or the Oscars. Or Emmys. Or whatever. And people go on and on and on about something some star was wearing, or something some star said, and WAY too many people take offense or react or go on and on and on about something and I think it’s ENTIRELY idiotic…

…and then usually when that moment happens I’m in sweat pants, in a big comfortable chair, dog on my leg, making phone calls and doing research and writing about athletic contests and the people involved. For a living.

So I guess I don’t have much room to talk.

I love what’s happening with the Big 12 this year. Everybody is playing up to or above expectations, really, except for maybe Kansas (though last night they looked like the champ).

I still think Oklahoma State has a lot going for it, mainly Marcus Smart.

I don’t know. Don’t want to talk too much about it until we see a little more. But so far, very good.

Well, yes, and for a lot of reasons. For one, Bud Light and Coors Light and Miller Light and all that other crap tastes the same. If you’re arguing one over the other, you’re basically arguing over ad campaigns, whether you realize it or not, while Famous Dave’s — and you know this if you are an alive human person — is offensively awful.

I’m not saying Famous Dave’s shouldn’t exist. It actually has some positives. For one, when people go there, that means that the kind of people who go to Famous Dave’s aren’t interacting with the rest of us. Also, the cooks at Famous Dave’s can save on dog food.

Also, I’m usually dubious about very rich people saying they enjoy very cheap things, but with Peyton here, I think it fits. He seems like exactly the kind of person who hasn’t allowed himself enough time away from football film to realize there are other types of beers than the one on all the ads in the stadiums he plays in. And the fact that he didn’t drop a Coors reference — we pause here to note that Coors is, technically, merely a regional division of Molson Coors — means he wasn’t just pandering to the masses in Colorado.

I applaud Peyton.

Oof. This is uncomfortable for everyone involved, especially the lady, and ESPECIALLY for the lady if she’s a loyal DKTM reader.

Anyway, normally I’m all about saving people embarrassment. Look the other way, let them have their moment, all that kind of thing. But here, you have to write back. Her heart is in this. She’s invested. She’s trying to keep her man and, even if that’s the wrong move, it’s her move.

So write her back, but be kind: "I’m sorry. You have the wrong email address. Good luck."

Also: you can’t completely discount that this isn’t from one of your friends playing a joke on you.

Well, using the completely awesome Pro Football Focus let’s look at some of the best quarterbacks when blitzed and not blitzed (the last two I’m including because they carved up the Chiefs):

Peyton Manning: 103.5 NFL passer rating when blitzed (168 snaps), 117.3 when not blitzed (545 snaps).

Tom Brady: 93.5 when blitzed (211 snaps), 84.2 when not blitzed (487).

Aaron Rodgers: 97.7 when blitzed (86 snaps), 106.4 when not blitzed (275).

Drew Brees: 114.4 when blitzed (183 snaps), 98.9 when not blitzed (593).

Russell Wilson: 95.7 when blitzed (203 snaps), 102.3 when not blitzed (323).

Andrew Luck: 79.5 when blitzed (214 snaps), 88.1 when not blitzed (525).

Philip Rivers: 105.8 when blitzed (187 snaps), 106.8 when not blitzed (455).

Now, there are a bunch of disclaimers needed here. These are just some of the best quarterbacks. When to blitz and when not to blitz are decisions that may impact passer rating, which isn’t a totally awesome stat to begin with^ but I used here because it’s familiar and isn’t necessarily impacted by snap counts.

^ Wilson’s PFF.com Rating, for instance, is a cumulative number and is 21.3 against a blitz and 1.8 against no blitz, despite facing fewer blitzes than non-blitzes.

For the most part here, the numbers are pretty close. Manning, Brady, and Brees were slightly better against blitzes this year. Rodgers, Wilson and Luck were slightly better without blitzes. Rivers was basically the same.

So, like many things in football, it’s more complicated than just one thing.

Guys, I’ve been trying to tell you for a while now: it’s not going to happen.

I mean, technically, it’s not impossible. Santana is still unsigned, the Royals are one of 30 teams that play major league baseball, so, you know … it could happen. But it is only slightly less likely that you will sign with the Royals than Ervin Santana.

Actually, that’s not true. You might be Eric Hosmer or Greg Holland or Aaron Crow, one of the arbitration guys who will sign a one-year deal here soon.

It’s slim-to-none, and that’s the optimistic view. I know Buster Olney, who is terrific, tweeted a while back that there’s a scenario where Santana could wind up back in Kansas City but I’m telling you … it’s an enormous longshot^.

^ Believe what you want, but I did call 11-5 and a first-round playoff loss after the first Chargers loss.

Let’s see how it plays out, but I think he’ll be fine. If he smokes weed, well, let’s be real. There are a lot of NFL players who smoke weed, and at some point, teams are actually going to stop letting top talents slide down the draft board for marijuana usage.

The truth is, he’s a hell of a talent. And if he can answer the other questions satisfactorily, then, well, he’s a hell of talent.

So, the friends of this app have done an admirable bit of guerilla marketing here on my Twitter feed and this is my white flag.

Check it out, if that’s your thing…

…see what I mean?

1. K-State.

2. Iowa State.

3. Kansas.

But that’s just one man’s top three.

Do you guys actually drive to these places? We’re talking nine hours to Denver, 15 to Toronto, and 27 hours to Seattle?

You people are nuts.

I mean this with respect.

It’s my goal to get this figured out this week.

See this?

Positivity, people.

Positivity.

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