Zion Williamson

There is no debate as to who will be the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The biggest question is where Duke’s Zion Williamson will land.

Barring a blockbuster discovery that Zion Williamson is Communist Russian Al-Qaeda operative, the Duke superstar is a lock to be the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. That means there is currently more anticipation for the NBA’s draft lottery, than the draft itself.

The good news for basketball fans is that the days of suspense and speculation are soon coming to an end. Tuesday, the draft lottery will take place and we will all find out which snapback cap Williamson will wear come June 20.

The New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns each have a 14 percent chance to land top pick in this year’s draft. However, there’s very little chatter about the Cavs, Suns or other NBA teams landing Williamson. It’s all about the Knicks.

Should the Knicks land the top pick, expect the sports world to scream “collusion.” It is almost a foregone conclusion that the biggest college basketball star in the world is headed to the biggest city in the nation.

People have gone so far as to debate whether the Knicks should keep Williamson or trade him to the Pelicans for Anthony Davis. All this analysis is occurring before a single ping pong ball has been pulled.

Then again, the Knicks have not had the top overall pick since 1985, when the team selected Hall of Fame center Patrick Ewing. The Cavaliers, in comparison, have had five top picks since then. The Phoenix Suns have only had one, but it was Deandre Ayton who was selected first in 2018.

Maybe the Knicks deserve the top pick. Even though Knicks owner James Dolan has horrendously mismanaged the team in recent years, it is quite possible the basketball gods will throw him a bone with the biggest can’t miss pick since LeBron James.

Honestly, I hope the Knicks do land the top spot. Then the franchise will have a great asset and possibly be able to entice a big-name free agent to NYC. I don’t hold these hopes because I’m a Knicks fan. I’m just tired of hearing the incessant whimpering and whining coming out of New York.

One thing is for certain. Williamson is a game-changer. Whichever team lands his talents will see its fortunes shift overnight.

Let’s Go Blues!

Shout out to the St. Louis Blues. The Blues earned a trip to the Western Conference Finals after a thrilling Game 7 victory over the Dallas Stars.

St. Louis native Pat Maroon found the back of the net off a rebound with 14:10 remaining in the game’s second overtime. Maroon’s goal came at the expense of another St. Louis native, former Blues goalie, Ben Bishop.

Statistically, the Blues dominated the game, outshooting the Stars 54-30. However, Bishop proved to be a formidable foe. He carried the Stars on his shoulders until Blues center Robert Thomas took a shot that hit the post, bounced off Bishop’s shoulder right in front of the net. Maroon mopped up the mess and colored his name into Blues’ history.

The victory cements a remarkable turnaround for the Blues. At the beginning of January, the team had the worst record in the entire NHL. Now the team is just four wins away from fighting for a Stanley Cup. The Blues will face the winner of the Game 7 matchup between the San Jose Sharks and Colorado Avalanche.

Canelo keeps ticking

Saturday night, Canelo Alvarez defeated Daniel Jacobs via unanimous decision. Thought the fight was competitive, there was no controversy as there had been in Alvarez’s two fights with former middleweight champion Gennady “GGG" Golovkin.

According to CompuBox, Alvarez landed 188 of 466 punches (40.3 percent) compared to just 131 of 649 punches (20.2 percent) for Jacobs.

Canelo Alvarez and Daniel Jacobs

Canelo Alvarez defeated Daniel Jacobs via unanimous decision on Saturday night to unify the WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight titles.

As if taking an L wasn’t bad enough, Jacobs (35-3-0, 29 KO) was also reportedly fined one million dollars after surpassing the 10-pound rehydration weight limit on the day of the fight.

With the victory, Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KO) unified the IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight titles. Many expect him to face off with Golovkin in his next bout. Both fighters have TV contracts with DAZN, eliminating any major hurdles.

Alvarez could also target WBO Middleweight Champion Demetrius Andrade in an effort to become the first undisputed middleweight champion since Jermain Taylor defeated Bernard Hopkins in 2005.

Be sure to check In the Clutch online and also follow Ishmael on Twitter @ishcreates. Subscribe to The St. Louis American’s YouTube page to see weekly sports videos starring Ishmael and Melvin Moore at youtube.com/stlamericanvideo.

Ishmael H. Sistrunk is a columnist and the website coordinator for the St. Louis American and www.stlamerican.com.

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