Even missing in action, Chicago native Davis a hot topic

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Even missing in action, Chicago native Davis a hot topic

Chicago native Anthony Davis, the top overall pick in Junes NBA Draft, didnt get to make his happy homecoming to his hometown in the Hornets win Saturday night over the Bulls at the United Center. The University of Kentucky product suffered a concussion in New Orleans game Friday evening and didnt travel to Chicago.

Still, the big manan unknown, 6-foot-2 guard at a charter school on the South Side just a few years agohas already made a big impression. Although Davis didnt play Saturday, Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau prepared for him by studying on film and was impressed by what he saw.

Amazing, Thibodeau described. Hes a really skilled player. Hes a basketball player. He does everything. He can shoot, he can put it on the floor, he can pass, play great defense, great timing, shot-blocking, great quickness. Hes going to be a great pro.

Davis was billed as a shot-blocking presence with raw offensive ability, but early in his NBA career, hes showed that hes retained his guard skills on the offensive end of the court. At 6-foot-10, he has perimeter skills, include the ballhandling and outside shooting of a much smaller player.

He can handle it. He handles it like a guard. He can dribble, take people off the dribble, pull-up jump shots. Hes got all of that, Bulls rookie Marquis Teague, a college teammate of Davis, said. At Kentucky, he just did what Coach Cal Kentucky head coach John Calipari asked him to do. Coach Cal didnt want him to do all that. He just played his role.

Chimed in Hornets head coach Monty Williams: He can dribble, but he doesnt dribble unnecessarily. Hell do the things necessary for him to make a play and thats what I like about him. Hes efficient. He had a play against Miami, where he went full court and laid it up, and then, there are times where hell make one or two dribbles and make the right play, and hes still learning. Ive talked to him about exploring his game, so that when the game does slow down for himits real fast right nowhell be that much better, and his handle may be an asset to him. Right now, hes just using it to get out of certain situations.

Hes certainly getting used to the physicality of the game. Im still learning who he is as a player because he shoots the ball better than I thought, really good footwork, can handle the ball, pass, he continued. Conditioning and strength will be big for him. The stronger he gets, the less hell have to think about being tired or not being strong as guys hes going against. Then, Ill think well see more because hes not tired. Young guys are so tired because theyre not used to it, still growing. I think hes got another inch of growth. Hes a coachs dream. He really is because he does everything you tell him to do and some, still got a competitive edge.

Williams thinks Davis experience with USA Basketball over the summer, winning a gold medal in the London Olympics and playing alongside veteran superstars accelerated his development.

It really did help him, being around better players and more experienced guys, especially Tyson Chandler, said the coach, citing the former Bulls draft pick, last seasons NBA Defensive Player of the Year. I thought Tyson was going to be the biggest impact on him, just teaching him how to play that position in the NBA and I saw some of the residual effect of that when he got back. He was ahead of the curve in pick-and-roll defense and some other things on the block, so that experience and the coaching, being around Coach K Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and Nate McMillan, the ex-Portland head coach and Williams former boss every day had to help.

Williams expressed his disappointment about Davis not being present prior to the game, criticizing the leagues new concussion protocol. The coach spoke to the player after Friday nights game, as well as Saturday morning.

Hes okay, just has to go through the testing. Unfortunately, the NBA is strict on concussions. I could say a lot about that, but Im not; Ill refrain. But hell be okay.
You just do what youve got to do. I dont know to coach outside of dealing with Ive got to deal with every day. We have no idea when hes going to be back. Its one of those situations that the NBA, the doctors and the medical staff, they have a protocol that has to take place before guys can get back on the floor. The better he feels the next couple of days, it helps the situation, he explained. He got touched up a little bit last night. That happens a lot in basketball. Its just that now they treat everybody like they have white gloves and pink drawers. Its getting old, but its just the way the league is now.

This city should be proud of who he is, not just as a player, but as a person. I could tell he was down that he couldnt come last night and it wasnt any fault of his own, but the rules say he cant fly. Its a mans game, man. Were treating these guys like theyre five years old. He desperately wanted to come, Williams continued. Im not saying I dont like it. Weve got to protect our players, but I think the players should have more say-so about how they feel. Im sure I had four or five concussions when I played and it didnt bother me. I think the NBA is doing whats necessary to protect the players, but this is not the NFL. You dont get hit in the head that much. So, I understand it, but as a coach, Im a baby about it. I want my guys ready to play, so thats basically the bottom line. Im just a baby.

James Shields throws again as White Sox place Dylan Covey on 10-day DL

James Shields throws again as White Sox place Dylan Covey on 10-day DL

Dylan Covey is already the sixth White Sox pitcher to be placed on the 10-day disabled list this season. The club announced Friday that Covey is headed to the DL just as one of the pitchers already there, James Shields, took another step forward in his rehab.

Shields threw his second bullpen in three days on Friday and hopes to begin a minor-league rehab assignment after he throws a three-inning, game-situation-like bullpen on Monday.

The White Sox promoted reliever Juan Minaya to take Covey’s spot on the 25-man roster. They also announced Tyler Danish would be the 26th man for Saturday’s doubleheader and manager Rick Renteria said Covey’s scheduled start Monday would be filled internally. Reliever David Holmberg could make the start.

“I’m full bore,” Shields said. “Everything is working really well and everything feels good. Ready to rock and roll.

“It’s been pretty tough for me. I’m pretty anxious. I want to be out there and help my team win. But at the end of the day I have to stick to the process. You know the team was really doing good up until this last road trip. Now we need to pick it back up. I’m looking forward to coming back and helping the squad out.”

Covey isn’t surprised he landed on the DL.

He missed much of the 2016 season with a left oblique strain and knew exactly what he was experiencing when he felt the tug on Tuesday. But Covey remembers the early portion of last year’s injury and thinks he’s in better shape now.

“Well, my first thought was, ‘Oh, no. I did it again,’” Covey said. “It’s kind of looking like it might not be nearly as bad as it was last year. So I’m staying optimistic and taking it day by day.”

“I think if I tried to push it another pitch like I did last year, it could have maybe worsened the situation. So I’m glad I was able to hold back a little bit.”

Minaya -- who pitched in 11 games for the 2016 White Sox -- missed roughly five weeks with an abdominal tear. Though he wanted to race back (he struck out nine in 5 2/3 innings this spring), Minaya knew he had to be practical about his rehab. Once healthy, Minaya pitched well at Triple-A Charlotte, where he posted a 1.23 ERA in 14 2/3 innings.

“I took a little while but we’re going through the process and we have to be patient and do everything they say to get healthy,” Minaya said. “We have to do the right thing to be healthy.”

“I feel very happy with myself because I’m working to get back here and I see the progress and I feel very happy.”

Minaya gives the White Sox nine relievers on their 13-man staff. That amount would make it much easier for the team to fill Covey’s first turn in the rotation with a bullpen game on Monday. A career starter who only began to pitch in relief this season, Holmberg could give the White Sox several innings to start. While Renteria won’t name any candidates for the series opener against the Boston Red Sox, he did suggest it would be an internal candidate.

“We’ll probably end up filling with one of our own guys,” Renteria said.

Why Jim Callis thinks Luis Robert is going to have a gigantic impact on White Sox

Why Jim Callis thinks Luis Robert is going to have a gigantic impact on White Sox

Jim Callis thinks the Luis Robert signing is going to have a gigantic impact on the organization well beyond adding another elite talent.

When Robert officially joins the White Sox sometime next week, Callis projects the Cuban outfielder will initially be ranked the No. 27 prospect in baseball on MLBPipeline.com. That ranking is one spot ahead of Atlanta Braves shortstop Kevin Maitan, who previously was the No. 1 prospect in the 2016-17 international class.

But Callis likes the deal — reportedly worth between $25-30 million — because of what it could mean for the White Sox under the rules of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement where the playing field is leveled. Whereas teams could spend unlimited sums of money under the old CBA, the new rules include a hard salary cap.

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“It’s not going to be about money any more,” Callis said. “The teams with the most money will have $5.25 million and the teams with the least will have $4.75 million. You can trade and double that, but that’s it. So it’s not going to come down to this team is offering $25 million and this team is offering $10 million. Everyone’s going to be offering the future Luis Robert’s of the world the same money and it’s going to come down as who has relationships, who has done well with Cuban players. You look at how the White Sox recruited him with the video. I think it’s sending a message, ‘Hey, we’re a destination for Cuban players.’ That’s going to be huge going forward, almost as important as getting Luis Robert.”

"I think it was huge."

The Robert acquisition is critical for the rebuilding White Sox, who had acquired a number of talented arms in the initial phase but also need to stockpile as many bats as possible. Yoan Moncada is the biggest offensive piece added since the rebuild began in December. But beyond last year’s draft class, the only other offensive piece added is outfielder Luis Basabe.  

Internally, Robert will be ranked fourth overall in the White Sox top-10 list to start, though he could move ahead of Lucas Giolito when the system rankings are reorganized in July, Callis said.

Said Callis of Robert: “The obvious comparison is kind of a right-handed outfield version of Moncada.”