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The Sports Report: Cade Cunningham is first pick of our NBA mock draft

Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham
Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham
(Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Broderick Turner on the NBA: They are young and gifted, all viewed as having the talent to be NBA players and All-Stars at some point in their careers.

The players that are figured to be chosen in the top five of the NBA draft played only one season after high school, but Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs and Scottie Barnes, in the eyes of talent evaluators, are the real deal.

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It appears that Green could be joined by as many as three of his G League teammates during the two-round draft — Jonathan Kuminga, who might be a top-10 selection, Isaiah Todd and Daishen Nix.

Mobley might be one of a handful of former high school stars from Southern California selected in the draft. Former Chatsworth Sierra Canyon stars Ziaire Williams and BJ Boston are potential first- and second-round selections, respectively, while Josh Christopher, who played at Lakewood Mayfair, figures to be selected toward the end of the first round.

The Lakers select 22nd and the Clippers 25th. Those are their only picks.

This is a look at how things might shake out Thursday night at Barclays Center in New York:

1. Detroit: Cade Cunningham, SG, 6-8, 220, Oklahoma State

The Pistons badly need talent, and Cunningham is considered the most NBA-ready player. As a combo guard, Cunningham can play on the wing or at the point.

2. Houston: Jalen Green, SG, 6-6, 180, G League Ignite

Though he’s not ready to have an impact, Green is seen as the most talented player in the draft. He has the biggest upside because of his ability to score and incredible athleticism.

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3. Cleveland: Evan Mobley, F-C, 7-0, 215, USC

With his size and mobility, Mobley could become a special player. He has a nice inside/outside game and shooting touch. He has a great motor and work ethic.

To read the rest of the mock draft, click here.

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DODGERS

Mike DiGiovanna on the Dodgers: The spirited on-field competition between the Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres has extended to the front office, where the team’s top decision-makers appear to be duking it out over Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer heading into Friday’s trade deadline.

As many as eight teams, including the three National League West rivals, are reportedly in the mix for Scherzer, and one report Tuesday claimed Scherzer prefers to go to a West Coast club with a chance to win in 2021 and beyond.

“You’re always in a good spot when you’re on our team, because you’re never subtracting,” Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw said before Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Giants in Oracle Park. “We’ve always added when we’ve needed to.”

The Dodgers fell three games behind the first-place Giants in the division Tuesday night, the decisive run coming on a bizarre eighth-inning error by Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger.

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With the score tied 1-1, Dodgers reliever Blake Treinen walked Buster Posey and Mike Yastrzemski to open the bottom of the eighth. Darin Ruf grounded to second baseman Max Muncy, who chased Yastrzemski back toward first before throwing to Bellinger for an out.

Bellinger, moved from center field to first to ease the stress on his injured left hamstring, then air-mailed a throw far over the head of third baseman Justin Turner in an attempt to nail Posey, who hadn’t taken much of a turn around the base. It probably didn’t help that Muncy may have screened Bellinger on the play.

Posey easily scored on the error, which will only add more urgency to Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s attempts to boost a rotation that has lost Dustin May to season-ending elbow surgery, Kershaw to left forearm tightness and Trevor Bauer to a domestic-violence investigation.

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Trevor Bauer’s administrative leave is extended through Aug. 6

ANGELS

Jack Harris on the Angels: Joe Maddon has repeatedly called this year’s Angels team one of his favorite groups. Andrew Heaney thinks it has some of the best veteran leadership he’s seen. Max Stassi can sense the tight bonds during their fog-machine clubhouse celebrations after wins, or in the way new players have been immediately welcomed into the clubhouse.

Since the start of the season, Angels players and coaches have maintained this same message, confident the roster has enough talent and togetherness to make a serious push for the playoffs.

Come Friday’s trade deadline, they’ll find out if the club’s front office has the same level of faith.

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Approaching his first deadline as the Angels’ general manager, Perry Minasian will have some big decisions to make this week.

Entering Tuesday, the Angels are five games out in the wild-card race with five teams to leapfrog — a lot of ground to make up with two months to go. (Fangraphs gives the Angels a 10.3% chance of making the playoffs.)

“I believe our best baseball is upcoming here,” Stassi said Monday. “With this group, I think we can do something special.”

LAFC

Kevin Baxter on LAFC: LAFC traded midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye, one of the last original pieces from the franchise’s first season, to the Colorado Rapids on Tuesday for $1 million in allocation money and a 2022 international roster spot, clearing the way for the team to acquire Cristian Arango from Colombia’s Millonarios.

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In addition, LAFC will receive 10% of the transfer fee should the Rapids sell Kaye abroad for at least $1 million while Colorado gets LAFC’s first-round pick in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft.

“It is a deal we couldn’t pass up,” said a source who was not authorized to speak publicly about the deal, adding it was brokered late Monday night. “His contract is up at the end of the year and we feel our midfield is strong.”

NFL

Sam Farmer on the NFL: Teams kick off training camps this week — both the Rams and Chargers open Wednesday — and those summer traditions will be reminiscent of the pre-COVID-19 era, with some noticeable changes.

Those players who have not been vaccinated, and there are relatively few of them, will be operating under 2020 guidelines. That means they will undergo daily testing, are required to wear masks in the club facilities and during travel, must be physically distanced in the meal room and cannot eat with their teammates, cannot use the sauna or steam room, etc.

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Most of those rules are relaxed for players who have gotten the vaccine. No daily testing, no masks — although the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations could change that — no restrictions on gathering with teammates, travel or using club facilities.

“I don’t want to get into the exact numbers, but we’re really close to 100% of our players having the vaccination,” Rams coach Sean McVay said this week. “Some of those guys were in the process of getting that started within the last week.”

After their numbers lagged through training camp, the Chargers saw their situation improve dramatically in recent days. They are now close to having 90% of their players fully vaccinated or in the process of becoming fully vaccinated, said a league source not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

“These things have a way of working themselves out the closer you get to competition,” coach Brandon Staley said in June. “I know that our players are fully aware of what’s at stake.”

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Justin Herbert went from ‘Justin Who?’ at Oregon to a Chargers standout in five years

UCLA FOOTBALL

Ben Bolch on the Bruins: UCLA starting offensive guard Paul Grattan Jr. faces three criminal charges, including misdemeanor assault, in Pennsylvania stemming from an altercation at a bar before transferring from Villanova, The Times has learned.

A UCLA athletic department spokesperson said Tuesday that Grattan remained in good standing at the school while acknowledging that athletic officials were monitoring the court case. The spokesperson also said that Grattan, a graduate transfer about to start his second season with the Bruins, remained in good standing at Villanova at the time of his departure in August.

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A Villanova athletic department official did not respond to repeated calls and emails seeking comment about whether Grattan faced any disciplinary action from the school as a result of the matter.

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George Kliavkoff: Pac-12 does not need to expand after Texas, Oklahoma moves to the SEC

OLYMPICS

Where’s the Olympics coverage? You will be receiving a special Olympics edition of the Sports Report, which should hit your inbox around 7 a.m. PT each day, and will run daily during the Games. You can also check out all of our Olympics coverage by clicking here.

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THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1913 — The United States wins its first Davis Cup since 1902 by beating Britain three matches to two.

1928 — The Summer Olympics open in Amsterdam and the Olympic flame is lit for the first time.

1929 — The Chicago Cardinals become the first NFL team to train out of state, holding camp in Michigan.

1972 — The American Basketball Assn. announces that San Diego will receive a franchise and the NBA’s Buffalo Braves relocate to San Diego and are renamed the San Diego Clippers.

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1972 — The Dallas Cowboys beat the College All-Stars in Chicago 20-7.

1984 — The Summer Olympics open in Los Angeles with a record 140 nations competing. The Soviet Union and 13 Communist allies, including Cuba and East Germany, boycott the games.

1987 — Laura Davies shoots a 1-under 71 to defeat Ayako Okamoto and JoAnne Carner in an 18-hole playoff to win the U.S. Women’s Open.

1987 — Angel Cordero Jr. becomes the fourth U.S. jockey to win 6,000 races when he rides Lost Kitty to victory at Monmouth Park, N.J.

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1991 — Dennis Martinez pitches a perfect game for the Montreal Expos, who beat the Dodgers 2-0.

1992 — American Mike Barrowman sets a world record in winning the 200-meter breaststroke, and Russian Evgueni Sadovyi becomes the Summer Olympics’ first triple gold medalist, also smashing a world record in the men’s 400-meter freestyle.

1994 — On the night baseball players set an Aug. 12 strike date, Kenny Rogers of the Texas Rangers pitches a perfect game for a 4-0 victory over California.

2000 — Blaine Wilson, America’s pre-eminent gymnast, wins his fifth straight championship in St. Louis. He becomes the first gymnast to win five straight national titles since George Wheeler did it from 1937-41.

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2009 — Germany’s Paul Biedermann hands Michael Phelps his first major individual loss in four years, setting a world record in the 200-meter freestyle at the world championships in Rome. Phelps, a body length behind, loses for the first time in a major international meet since Ian Crocker beat him in the 100 butterfly final at the 2005 worlds.

2011 — Ryan Lochte celebrates the first world record set since high-tech bodysuits were banned 1 1/2 years ago. Lochte edges Michael Phelps in 200-meter individual medley at the world championships at Shanghai.

2013 — Brek Shea scores less than a minute after entering the game as a second-half substitute, giving the United States a 1-0 victory over Panama in the Gold Cup final. It’s the fifth Gold Cup title for the Americans but their first since 2007.

2016 — Mirim Lee shoots a 10-under 62 to match the Women’s British Open record and take a three-stroke lead in the major championship at tree-lined Woburn (England) Golf Club.

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2016 — Stephan Jaeger shoots a 12-under 58 in the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic in Hayward, Calif., for the lowest score in major tour play. The German finishes with a 10-foot birdie putt.

And finally

The opening ceremony of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics. Watch it here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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