Joe's Morning Sports-Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The NBA draft finally arrives this evening.  Players such as Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman should be about a month into their rookie seasons by now.  Instead, the draft was delayed multiple times from its usual June spot because of the coronavirus pandemic.  That also prevented college players from making a final impression during March Madness and limited the way teams could evaluate players.  Perhaps that's why there is no consensus number one pick this season.  The Minnesota Timberwolves have top pick, followed by Golden State and Charlotte.  Commissioner Adam Silver will make the picks, usually done in New York, from ESPN headquarters.

The 2020-21 NBA schedule will feature a play-in tournament and an NBA Finals that could run all the way until July 22, keeping some players from competing in the Olympics.  The league’s 75th season, delayed and shortened because of the coronavirus pandemic, will begin Dec. 22 and look like none other.  The NBA announced yesterday how it will make up the 72-game schedule, which won’t be entirely known until well after it’s started.

The Toronto Raptors and the NBA have offered a proposal to the Canadian government to play in Toronto amid the pandemic.  The NBA needs an exemption to a requirement that anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days.  The United States-Canada border also remains closed to nonessential travel.

New Mexico State’s men’s basketball team will temporarily move to Phoenix due to coronavirus restrictions in its home state.  Under New Mexico health guidelines, athletic departments currently do not allow full practices, games or workouts exceeding five people.  Anyone who travels from outside New Mexico also must quarantine for 14 days.

Calling it a time to make a change, Theo Epstein is stepping down after nine seasons as the Chicago Cubs’ president of baseball operations.  General manager Jed Hoyer is being promoted to take his place.  Epstein transformed the long-suffering Cubs and helped bring home a championship in 2016.  His contract was set to expire in 2021.

Dominic Thiem mastered the tiebreakers again to get the better of Rafael Nadal at the ATP Finals, under way in London.  Thiem beat the 20-time Grand Slam champion in straight sets and secured his spot in the semifinals.  He clinched the victory on his fifth match point.

Center Andre Drummond has told the Cleveland Cavaliers he will exercise his $28.7 million contract option and stay with them this season.  Drummond was acquired by Cleveland in a surprising trade from Detroit in February.  A two-time All-Star with Detroit, the 27-year-old Drummond has consistently said he enjoys playing with the young Cavs.

The Florida Panthers have hired Brett Peterson as an assistant general manager.  The team says Peterson is believed to be the first Black assistant GM in the NHL.  The NHL has been working to increase minority participation in front offices and on coaching staffs.

The Nebraska men's basketball team was picked 13th yesterday in an unofficial poll of the Big Ten's media members.  The Huskers received 54 points and were picked to finish ahead of Northwestern.  None of the writers in the poll had NU higher than twelfth.  Nebraska went 7-25 last season, including 2-18 in the league.  The Huskers return only two players who saw significant playing time.  Illinois topped the poll, receiving 16 of a possible 28 first-place votes.  Iowa was second, Wisconsin took third and Michigan State fourth.

Friday Evening:  The Pierce football team hosts Adams Central of Hastings in the Class ‘C-1’ Championship Game at 5:30.  Pregame coverage at 4:50 on 97.5 KEXL & KEXL.com.

Newstalk WJAG 105.9 FM & 780 AM the home of Kansas City Chiefs football!

In other news

A five-run third inning propelled the No. 14 Northeast Community College baseball team to victory on Saturday, defeating North Central Missouri College, 5-3 at David Allen Memorial Ballpark in Enid, Okla. The Hawks (2-6) faced No. 8 Northern Oklahoma College-Enid in the final game of the nig…