The Spurs are on to the second round of the playoffs, and the reason is Kawhi Leonard. Leonard has a PER of 36.4 through the first round of the playoffs, which is flat-out ridiculous. “We have a knack for hanging in ’cause things happen, and obviously Kawhi Leonard is, in my opinion, the best player in the league right now,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said in his postgame press conference.
In the wake of ESPN’s mass firings, news of which continued into Thursday, some joked that it might be easier to list network employees who weren’t fired. Others took the next step by pointing out certain ESPN figures who they would have preferred to see laid off. Given that Stephen A. Smith is arguably ESPN’s best-known personality and, less arguably, its most polarizing, it was inevitable that his would be a prominent name pointed out by those arguing that, if the network had to let some people go, he should have been among them. On his ESPN radio show Thursday, Smith took issue with one source of criticism in particular: Jeff Pearlman, an author and former writer for Sports Illustrated and ESPN.
With an enthusiastic reported crowd of 70,000 people showing up for the first round, Philly showed the NFL the future of its draft.