The NBA Draft is here, and the basketball world’s youngest stars can finally join the league.
What We Know:
- The first three picks in the draft came with a little surprise. With the No. 1 overall pick, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Anthony Edwards from the University of Georgia. The Golden State Warriors followed them up by taking James Wiseman with the second pick, and the Charlotte Hornets selected the polarizing Lamelo Ball at No. 3.
- Edwards is an athletic phenom with huge offensive upside. There are questions about his shot selection and his motor for the game, but he’s one of the few players in this draft that you can see becoming an NBA star. Wiseman fills a need for the Warriors as an athletic big who can contribute on day one. Ball certainly brings some drama and attention to Charlotte, who has desperately missed some star power. With the off-court stuff, Ball is also a tall point guard with incredible playmaking skills and a knack for hitting shots. There are questions about his offensive efficiency and defensive awareness, but at least people will now have a reason to watch the Hornets.
- Killian Hayes and Deni Avdija were also two intriguing international prospects selected in the top 10. Hayes was taken with the Detroit Pistons’ seventh pick, and he has a solid combination of ball-handling, shooting, and passing. His game is reminiscent of James Harden’s, and the Pistons could have a future elite point guard on their hands. Avdija was selected by the Washington Wizards at No. 9, and he brings a lot to them on the offensive end. His ability to see the floor and make plays in the open court should help Washington, and with John Wall and Bradley Beal on the team, he won’t be asked to do too much right away.
- There were three notable trades during the draft. The first came with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who traded the 17th pick in the draft – the rights to Aleksej Pokusevski – for Oklahoma City’s 25th pick, 28th pick Ricky Rubio. OKC acquired Rubio in the Chris Paul trade and is shipping the veteran point guard back to Minnesota, where he spent the first six seasons.
- There was a three-way deal between the Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, and Brooklyn Nets. The Clippers are getting Luke Kennard from Detroit, the Pistons are getting the No. 19th pick from Brooklyn, and the Nets are getting Landry Shamet from LA. Shamet is a knockdown three-point shooter, and he should thrive in Brooklyn next to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The 19th pick became Saddiq Bey, who should contribute as a solid 3-and-D wing player for Detroit.
- The Dallas Mavericks are also trading Seth Curry to the Philadelphia 76ers for Josh Richardson and a second-round pick. Richardson to the Mavs could be interesting because he can be another on-ball creator who can shoot, and he provides solid defense. He’s also on an expiring contract, so Dallas’ hands won’t be tied for next year’s free agency. This trade is huge for the 76ers because they have desperately needed three-point shooting. Curry is one of the league’s best specialists, coming off a career-high 45.2% shooting from the three-point line. He is also head coach Doc Rivers‘ son-in-law.
In other news, it is being reported that Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson has unfortunately suffered a serious lower right leg injury. Thompson missed the entire 2019-2020 season recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee.
Minnesota AG Keith Ellison Requests Aggravated Sentence for Chauvin
The state’s attorney general has requested the former Minneapolis police officer receive a harsher sentence for his role in the death of George Floyd.
What We Know:
- According to a legal brief filed on Friday, Attorney General Keith Ellison asked Hennepin County Judge to hand Chauvin a harsher sentence. Ellison based his request on “five aggravating factors” that justify a longer sentence.
- The brief states that Floyd was a “vulnerable victim” and “treated with particular cruelty.” The filing states that Floyd was already restrained on the ground when most of Chauvin’s actions took place and that he ignored Floyd’s calls for help as he could not breathe. Ellison went on to say, “[the] Defendant’s actions inflicted gratuitous pain, and caused psychological distress to Mr. Floyd and to the bystanders.”
- In addition, the brief states Chauvin “abused his position of authority” by violating the “sanctity of life” and public responsibility standards that police officers are held to. The final two factors Ellison says, are that Chauvin committed the crime as part of a group of officers and in the presence of children.
- Chauvin was charged with second and third-degree murder along with second-degree manslaughter. On April 20th, the former officer was found guilty on all charges after a deliberation process that lasted several weeks. However, due to Minnesota state law, Chauvin will only be sentenced according to the most serious charge–second-degree murder.
The death of George Floyd last year sparked nationwide protests that lasted for several months. Chauvin’s sentencing hearing has been scheduled for June 25th.
National Pharmacy Chains Have Wasted Hundreds of Thousands of Covid Vaccine Doses
Two nationwide pharmacy chains trusted with handling vaccinations are largely responsible for the majority of wasted doses.
What We Know:
- According to the CDC, there were 182,874 wasted doses of the covid vaccine as of late March. The pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens are responsible for 128,500 wasted shots. According to Kaiser Health News, CVS accounted for nearly half of those, with Walgreens representing 21%.
- The CDC data indicates that the two companies wasted more shots of the vaccine than all of the states, territories, and federal agencies combined. The data, however, does not indicate how the pharmacies were able to waste so many of the vaccine doses. Many critics cited the disorganized rollout of the vaccine as the primary factor contributing to the waste.
- The Trump administration heavily leaned on the two pharmacies to vaccinate those long-term care facilities during the early phase. A CVS representative stated “nearly all” of its wasted vials came during this period.
- The report found that freezer malfunctions were the most common source of wasted vials. The Pfizer was the first to be distributed in December. The vaccine initially required that it be kept in ultra-cold storage, making it difficult to transport and store properly. The report found that the Pfizer vaccine made up 60% of all lost doses.
- In a statement, CDC spokesperson Kate Fowlie said, “though every effort is made to reduce the volume of wastage in a vaccination program, sometimes it’s necessary to identify doses as ‘waste’ to ensure anyone wanting a vaccine can receive it, as well as to ensure patient safety and vaccine effectiveness.”
According to the CDC, nearly 250 million doses of the covid vaccine have been administered. Over 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated so far, which amounts to about 32% of the population.
Wildfire Survivors, Experts Urge Congressional Action Ahead of Fire Season
Wildfire Survivors and Experts urged Congress to act quickly to prevent more devastation on the West Coast.
What We Know:
- Fire season this year threatens to be a historic one amid rising temperatures and drought. The House Natural Resources subcommittee recently listened to testimonies on managing forests, fighting climate change, and equipping federal firefighters. The hearing finished right before a brush fire erupted in Southern California. The fire forced some residents to evacuate their homes in Ventura County.
- According to the U.S Drought Monitor, much of the West is experiencing levels of drought ranging from severe to exceptional. About 75% of the West is in a “megadrought.” The drought includes the Colorado River and the Rio Grande, both of which supply water for millions of people and businesses.
- Congressional leaders remain split on how to address the crisis despite warnings from experts. Some members blame climate change, while others blame forest management. Some lawmakers are pushing for federal agencies to hire more firefighters. Other lawmakers would rather states take more proactive roles in securing communities.
- Idaho Rep Russ Fulcher believes the main culprit of this disaster is decades of insufficient forest management. Fulcher asserts that the negligence has led to “overgrown, diseased and dying forests.” Rep. Joe Neguse made a statement saying Congress must stop the “drain” of federal resources to land agencies and increase the federal wildland workforce. Last year Neguse’s district was hit by two of the largest wildfires in Colorado’s history.
The East Troublesome Fire in Colorado claimed nearly 200,000 acres and killed two people.