Landing spots for top NBA free agents

Just 24 hours. That’s all that remains between now and the start of NBA free agency. It seems that every year now serves up a bunch of all stars hitting the open market. Part of that is just how the NBA is structured. Here is where a number of this year’s top players should end up when free agency is all said and done.

Some thoughts before I begin. I really like Boston landing Tobias Harris. He would be a great young piece for the Celtics to include as they continue to rebuild. Paul Millsap, Kawhi Leonard and Enes Kanter should all stay with their current teams. As should DeAndre Jordan and Tyson Chandler. Now to the really big names.

Kevin_Love_CavsKevin Love
2014 team: Cleveland Cavaliers
2015 team: Indiana Pacers
I have talked about this before. Love did not f    it into the Cleveland offense. He struggled as he became solely a jump shooter. He still performed decently well given the circumstances. He opted out of his deal to give the Cavs some financial flexibility and I think he will return to Cleveland. However, I think he should head to Indiana. David West just opted out of his contract and the Pacers are looking to unload Roy Hibbert. Sounds like they are going to need a lot more rebounding going forward. Love provides that plus tons of scoring potential for a team that finished 24th in points per game a year ago. I like Love playing with a great setup man in George Hill and a guy who can thrive off the ball in Paul George. This could be a good step in Indiana returning to the playoffs.

Jimmy Butler
2014 team: Chicago BullsBulls during_a_timeout
2015 team: Dallas Mavericks
Butler is going to demand a max deal from whoever signs him, which makes a return to the Bulls difficult due to their financial constraints. He could go to Indiana if they don’t land Love and continue to thrive in a defensive system. The best place for him though would be Dallas. Butler would land with a contender out west in desperate need of a defensive injection. You can bet that Rajon Rondo and Monta Ellis are not coming back next season so that should provide the financial flexibility needed to sign him. Butler would add a lockdown defender to a team that allowed the sixth most point per game a season ago. The 25-year old would be a much needed piece to help Dallas push toward another title with Nowitzki still in town.

Dwyane_WadeDwyane Wade
2014 team: Miami Heat
2015 team: Anyone but Miami (Atlanta Hawks)
Team basketball has been what Dwayne has been about for the last dozen years and what Atlanta put into practice last season. Miami isn’t willing to pay Wade for his services but you can bet Atlanta would love to nab the aging superstar. Paying Wade shouldn’t be too much of a problem with Demarre Carroll and Elton Brand likely not coming back. The Hawks have a ton of depth meaning Wade could play only 28 minutes a game and the team would not tank. Keeping Wade healthy will be easy and Atlanta would have a proven scorer to turn to when at clutch time in the playoffs. The whole Cleveland series seemed to be the Hawks looking for someone to step up. Wade has no problem doing that and could make Atlanta the favorite in the east next season.

LaMarcus_AldridgeLaMarcus Aldridge
2014 team: Portland Trailblazers
2015 team: Portland Trailblazers
At 29-years old, Aldridge isn’t getting any younger. Obviously, he still has some good years left in him but the clock is ticking. That would make you think he would try to bolt to another team poised for a title run. The best thing though would be to stay in Portland. Damian Lillard is still improving and if Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews return on similar deals to last year this team could be in a good position to compete again in the west. Obviously, this isn’t as fun as seeing Aldridge go to the Lakers, the Knicks or even the Spurs but it makes a lot of sense for Aldridge and the Trailblazers. They just brought in some really good depth in Mason Plumlee and Pat Connaughton. Give this core a year or two and they could one of the top teams in the rugged west.

Marc GasolMarc_Gasol
2014 team: Memphis Grizzlies
2015 team: Milwaukee Bucks
Michael Carter-Williams, O.J. Mayo, Giannis Antetokoumpo, Jabari Parker and Marc Gasol. That would be quite the starting lineup. Gasol is one of, if not the best passing big in the game right now. He averages almost four assists per night and should ignite Milwaukee’s offense. This team made the playoffs as the sixth seed without Parker last season. Bring in Gasol to play with a healthy Parker and suddenly the frontcourt for the Bucks looks drastically better. This move makes a lot of sense too with Larry Sanders leaving in the middle of last season. Zaza Pachulia is nothing special, Gasol is. With a ton of depth on the roster already, the Bucks could become a contender in the east within a year or two with Gasol as the centerpiece.


NBA Draft Rapid Reactions

The draft is barely in the books but it is time to react to all that happened tonight. There were plenty of winners and losers and even more head scratching selections. The implications going forward are huge as well. Let’s get started.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Selections: Karl-Anthony Towns, C, Kentucky, Tyus Jones, PG, Duke
Towns will be a superstar and compares well to another Timberwolf in Kevin Garnett. He, Andrew Wiggins and Zach LaVine give the Wolves an exciting young core to build around. The Jones selection is a little troubling. He is unproven and Minnesota has a number of young guards.

Los Angeles Lakers
Selections: DeAngelo Russell, PG, Ohio State, Larry Nantes Jr., PF, Wyoming, Anthony Brown, SF, Stanford
The Lakers made the right choice in selecting Russell. He and Julius Randall certainly give the Lakers some hope for the future. Nantes and Brown infuse some youth and some potential into a team that desperately needs it.

Philadelphia 76ers
Selections: Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke, Richaun Holmes, PF, Bowling Green, Arturuas Gudaitas, C, Lithuania, J.P. Tokoto, SG, UNC, Luka Mitrovic, PF, Serbia
Philly had the most picks in the draft and still came away with more. Okafor will be a great player and his presence makes either Joel Embiid or Nerlens Noel expendable. If one of the second rounders can develop then this will be a success for the 76ers rebuilding project.

New York Knicks
Selection: Kristaps Portzingis, PF, Latvia, Jerian Grant, PG, Notre Dame, Willy Hernangómez, C, Spain
Knicks fans aren’t happy with Portzingis being selected at four and it might have been a bit of a reach. However, if they are patient he could be a steal. I love that they landed Grant though as he should be a playmaker on a team that lacks one.

Orlando Magic
Selections: Mario Herzonja, SG, Croatia, Tyler Harvey, SG, Eastern Washington
All signs say that Herzonja is a lights out shooter and with his size he could be a small forward. That might lessen the blow of Tobias Harris potentially leaving. Harvey needs some time but the Magic have to be happy with their draft.

Sacramento Kings
Selection: Willie Caulie-Stein, C, Kentucky
When your star player demands you take a certain prospect, you usually do it. DeMarcus Cousins and Caulie-Stein will be quite the frontcourt duo in Sacramento. Shame he is the only rookie they got.

Denver Nuggets
Selections: Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, China, Nikola Radicevic, PG, Serbia
Apparently the Nuggets felt they needed a point guard. Mudiay is a huge question mark but oozes upside. Ty Lawson is likely on his way out though with Radicevic being selected as well.

Detroit Pistons
Selections: Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona, Darrun Hillard, SG, Villanova
Johnson may very well be great someday but with Justise Winslow still on the board I don’t fully understand this one. Darrun Hillard offers some playmaking ability but nothing eye-popping. Decent hall for Detroit but could have been better.

Charlotte Hornets
Selection: Frank Kaminsky, C, Wisconsin
Only one pick means that Charlotte failed to do more. Kaminsky is a talented player though and should contribute immediately. Won’t make Charlotte a contender overnight but definitely a step in the right direction.

Miami Heat
Selections: Justise Winslow, SF, Duke, Josh Richardson, SG, Tennessee
Winslow at 10 might end up being a huge steal for the Heat. Richardson won’t contribute right away but he could be a key bench player in a year or two. Good draft for Miami. If only they could find a way to pay all their free agents now…

Indiana Pacers
Selections: Myles Turner, C, Texas, Joseph Young, SG, Oregon
The selection of Turner means that Roy Hibbert is moving. Plain and simple. The team has already begun shopping him. Young is a bit undersized for a shooting guard but he could still turn in a solid player to spell a starter down the line.

Utah Jazz
Selections: Trey Lyles, PF, Kentucky, Olivier Hanlan, PG, Boston College
Lyles is without a doubt a talented player. He is very raw all the way around but he has a lot of potential. Pairing him with Rudy Gobert will be a lot of fun to watch. Hanlan is a good pick too and could be a future starter for the Jazz.

Phoenix Suns
Selection: Devin Booker, SG, Kentucky,
Only one pick but they made it count. Phoenix didn’t make themselves a contender in the draft but they took a valuable piece who should be a starter soon. His shooting alone with get him on the court this year.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Selections: Cameron Payne, PG, Murray State, Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky
Drafting a pro ready point guard to spell Russell Westbrook means the Thunder are realizing how small their championship window is at the moment. Selecting Johnson helps them prolong that potential window a little longer too.

Atlanta Hawks
Selections: Marcus Erikkson, SF, Spain, Dimitrios Agravanis, PF, Greece
Two second rounders don’t exactly scream championship builders. Neither does Tim Hardaway. No idea what the Hawks were thinking, especially when they had a talent like Kelly Oubre fall into their lap.

Boston Celtics
Selections: Terry Rozier, PG, Louisville, R.J. Hunter, SG, Georgia State, Jordan Mickey, PF, LSU, Marcus Thornton, SG, William & Mary
Rozier is good but a bit of a head scratcher with Jerian Grant still on the board. Mickey and Hunter are very solid picks though and should immediate contribute to this young Celtics team.

Milwaukee Bucks
Selection: Rashad Vaughn, SG, UNLV
He is a steal. Vaughn is a talented scorer coming from a good program. He will be a solid bench piece right away and help a woefully bad Bucks team on offense. Griveis Vasquez isn’t a bad add either, but it came at too steep a price.

Houston Rockets
Selections: Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin, Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville
Passing on Jerian Grant seems a little foolish but Dekker is a top talent. He showed he could do it all this year at Wisconsin. Harrell will be a good bench asset right away. If the Rockets find a point guard in free agency, they could very easily find themselves in the finals next year.

Washington Wizards
Selections: Kelly Oubre, SF, Kansas, Aaron White, PF, Iowa
Landing Oubre for jump change was ingenious. He is in a spot too where he can develop for a year as well coming off the bench. Aaron White provides some depth, about what you would expect from a second round pick.

Toronto Raptors
Selections: Delon Wright, PG, Utah, Norman Powell, SG, UCLA
Wright landed in a good spot and now the Raptors have a contingency plan when Louis Williams or Kyle Lowry becomes too expensive. Powell won’t see much action to start but could be in the mix next season.

Dallas Mavericks
Selections: Justin Anderson, SF, Virginia, Satnam Singh, C, India
Anderson could one day be an All-Star if he reaches his full potential. Rick Carlisle will probably get it out of him too. Singh is another big body who can eventually rotate in and disrupt the paint when Tyson Chandler needs a breather.

Chicago Bulls
Selection: Bobby Portis, PF, Arkansas,
The frontcourt is looking very crowded at the moment and with it likely that either Derrick Rose or Jimmy Butler will be gone next year getting a guard might have been good. However, Portis is a steal at 22 and will give the Bulls some depth, or a bargaining chip.

Portland Trailblazers
Selections: Pat Connaughton, SG, Notre Dame, Daniel Diez, SF, Spain
Add in Mason Plumlee as well. With LaMarcus Aldridge set to leave and Nicolaus Batum already gone this team is thinking youth movement. Portland certainly accomplished that.

Cleveland Cavaliers
Selections: Cedi Osman, SF, Macedonia, Rakeem Christmas, PF, Syracuse, Sir’Dominic Pointer, SF, St. John’s
Cleveland landed too high floor, low ceiling prospects in Christmas and Pointer as well as one for the future in Osman. This team is trying to win a title. They made some really good strides toward doing that.

Memphis Grizzlies
Selections: Jarell Martin, PF, LSU, Andrew Harrison, PG, Kentucky
Athleticism with lots of potential was the trend for Memphis. These two picks were definitely risky but they could pay off in the end. No short term help for the Griz though.

San Antonio Spurs
Selections: Nikola Milutinov, C, Serbia, Cady Lalanne, PF, UMass
Of course the Spurs took an international player that most of us had never heard of. I can’t fault them though cause that usually works out pretty well for them. Lalanne could be a role player as well as the Spurs make one last push for a title with their current core.

New Orleans Pelicans
Selection: Branden Dawson, SF, Michigan State
About all you can hope for when you are picking on in the second round. Dawson has some upside and had flashes of brilliance this season for Michigan State. It is doubtful but he could end up like another former Michigan State second-rounder (Draymond Green).

Los Angeles Clippers
Selections: None
Not much to say other than they better have a plan. The Clippers really could have used some new blood so this really hurts.

Brooklyn Nets
Selections: Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, SF, Arizona, Chris McCollough, PF, Syracuse, Juan Vaulet, SF, Argentina
Giving up Plumlee is no fun but Hollis-Jefferson could be a star one day. McCollough has a ton of potential as well as a highly recruited prospect before he tore his ACL. Vaulet is a prospect for down the road. Good draft for Brooklyn.

Golden State Warriors
Selection: Kevon Looney, PF, UCLA
Looney fits Golden State’s idea of small ball as a stretch 4. With all of Looney’s potential as well, this could be a great pick for the defending champs when we look back in about three years.

NBA Mock Draft

by Matt Luppino

The NBA Draft goes live tonight at 7 pm. Here are my predictions for how the first round goes:

  1. Minnesota Karl-Anthony Towns, F/C, Kentucky

Best player with most upside and fewest flaws.  A sure pick for the Wolves.

  1. L.A. Lakers Jahlil Okafor, F/C, Duke

The Lakers need a big guy more than they need another guard.  Kobe Bryant, Jeremy Lin, and Nick Young are all still there, so grab the polished Okafor and have at it on offense.

  1. Philadelphia Mario Hezonja, G/F, Croatia

A classic “why the $*&%?” moment out of Sam Hinkie, but there is a method to the madness here.  Apparently, he can shoot the lights out, which will help a hapless offense in Philly.

  1. New York D’Angelo Russell, G, Ohio State

Finally, someone on the Knicks that can shoot!  Russell can run the offense and put up points too, perfectly fitting into Phil Jackon’s arsenal.

  1. Orlando Kristaps Porzingis, F/C, Latvia

If he’s here at 5, Orlando is ecstatic.  7’1” with a jump shot.

  1. Sacramento Emmanuel Mudiay, G, China

Kings need a guard to feed Cousins and hopefully make him happy enough to stay in Northern California.

  1. Denver Justise Winslow, F, Duke

Winslow is a strong defender and an athletic slasher, but he shot over 40% from 3 as well at Duke.  With those numbers, he could be a beast.

  1. Detroit Willie Cauley-Stein, F/C, Kentucky

So what if Greg Monroe leaves in free agency?  Cauley-Stein will be cheap and probably better by the end of the day.

  1. Charlotte Devon Booker, G, Kentucky

Another great shooter, he can step in alongside Kemba Walker to take the spot of the since-traded Lance Stephenson.

  1. Miami Stanley Johnson, F, Arizona

Johnson is another athlete, who can bring some life to the Heat, who are still reeling from the loss of LeBron James, and maybe now Dwayne Wade too.

  1. Indiana Cameron Payne, G, Murray State

Paul George is healthy, and the front court in Indiana is still pretty strong.  A point guard will put it all together for them.

  1. Utah Frank Kaminsky, F/C, Wisconson

Utah became a defensive stronghold last season, but lacked scoring.  Frank the Tank will not only slot right into the defense, but the big guy can shoot with the best of them.

  1. Phoenix Trey Lyles, F/C, Kentucky

He, like Okafor, is a skilled offensive big man, who could slot in alongside the big, lumbering Alex Len.

  1. Oklahoma City Justin Anderson, G/F, Virginia

The Thunder are only here because of injuries.  But in Anderson, they get a good outside shooter and a great perimeter defender – the last piece they might need to finally win a title.

  1. Atlanta Myles Turner, F/C, Texas

Fits in alongside the punishing defender in Al Horford and the skilled shooter in Paul Millsap.  Can fill in for either one off of the bench.

  1. Boston Sam Dekker, F, Wisconson

A good shooter and an above average defender, he boosts the Celtics immediately.

  1. PHILADELPHIA (Tony Wroten, 2 2nd rounders (35 and 37)) Tyus Jones, G, Duke

THAT’S WHAT HINKIE IS DOING WITH ALL THOSE PICKS!!!  In a shocker, and Milwaukee not seeing many players they need here, they take the back up point guard and more picks in a solid group of second round talent.  Meanwhile, the Sixers get the point guard they desperately need.

  1. Houston Bobby Portis, F, Arkansas

Portis is a big bruiser who went toe-to-toe with Kentucky a few times.  The dude can play.

  1. Washington Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, F, Arizona

With Paul Pierce and Trevor Ariza not getting any younger, a fresh infusion of defensive prowess and energy is a great fit here late in the first round.

  1. Toronto Kelly Oubre, F, Kansas

Oubre has a ton of potential, who will have the time to develop with the young, talented nucleus above the border.

  1. Dallas Jerian Grant, G, Notre Dame

Arguably one of the best scorers in the draft, Grant can play alongside either Rajon Rondo as the scorer, or Monta Ellis as the facilitator.

  1. Chicago Terry Rozier, G, Louisville

When Derrick Rose is off the court, the Bulls take a serious step back.  Here, they get their much needed asset at the point.

  1. Portland Montrell Harrell, F/C, Louisville

Now that Lamarcus Aldridge plans on leaving Portland, Harrell, skilled at both ends and the centerpiece behind another strong Louisville team, can begin his role as the successor.

  1. Cleveland Delon Wright, G, Utah

With how frail Kyrie Irving is and how inefficient the Cavs were without a true point guard this postseason, a ball handler has to be at the top of the list for them.

  1. Memphis Anthony Brown, G, Stanford

A 3 and D player, Brown fits in perfectly with the tough defense in Memphis, and Mike Conley will get him the ball.

  1. San Antonio Pat Connaughton, G/F, Notre Dame

Another great shooter and a really high energy guy on defense.  He is an excellent role player for Gregg Popovich.

  1. L.A. Lakers RJ Hunter, G, Georgia St.

Not just the star of the Cinderella Bulldogs, Hunter is a skilled scorer and ball handler, capable of stepping up for the now ancient Kobe.

  1. Boston Kevon Looney, F, UCLA

He might be really, really good at the stretch 4, so the Celtics can take that risk with Jared Sullinger proven in front of him.

  1. Brooklyn Michael Frazier, G, Florida

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson are getting up there in age, so this begins the new wave of Brooklyn talent.

  1. Golden State Nikola Milutinov, C, Serbia
    Scouting report: “Potential pick-and-roll monster that can protect the rim.”  Sounds like the champs to you?  He will be a bigger Draymond Green, alongside Draymond Green.

It is time to move on from Tiger

He ruled golf for over a decade. He notched the second most wins in golf history. He bested the competition in the second most majors ever. Tiger Woods was transcendent for the game of golf and potentially the greatest golfer to ever live.

However, his prime is over. The fist pump long gone. The wins have all stopped coming for Tiger. We all knew it would happen eventually and maybe we didn’t want it to come but it has most certainly arrived.

Tiger WoodsBut we haven’t embraced it. Many in the sports world are still clinging to the notion that he can still do it. ESPN regularly reports on Woods and tracks his play incessantly. Every commercial on still advertises Tiger as part of the main event. The media still hounds him and treats him as the king of his sport.

If you were an outsider looking at the amount of coverage Woods receives, you would still think he was performing at a high level, when in reality, Tiger is playing worse than ever. Forever, it was a formality that Woods would pass Sam Snead for the most wins on the PGA Tour in history. Tiger hasn’t recorded a win since 2013 though and has only two top-25 finishes in the last two years. It was presumed as well that Tiger would make a run at Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 major championships. However, 2008 was the last time Woods claimed a major title and he hasn’t finished even in the top five of a major since the 2013 Masters.

Tiger_Woods_2007Woods has hit a dead point. His game has failed him entirely culminating in the dumpster fire that was Tiger’s last place finish at this past weekend’s Memorial Tournament. He finished an atrocious +14 on the weekend including his third round score of 85. It was a pathetic performance from Woods, but the media ate it up and I continued to get updates about his play all weekend long on sources such as EPSN and Bleacher Report.

As sad as it may be to say it, it is time to move on from Woods. Maybe not permanently but for some time before he is relevant again. There is no reason not to follow his performance or cheer for him to recapture his greatness, but until the greatness is back, there is no reason for him to be plastered all over everything related to golf. Woods is not a good player right now. He sits 181st in the World Golf Rankings, the worst he has been ranked since September 21st, 1996, before his first career win.

If I remember correctly, no one was raving about Rory Sabbatini (I will be impressed if you actually know who that is) this time last year. Sabbatini was the 181st ranked golfer at the end of 2014. Sabbatini has since climbed to 127th spot in the rankings. Obviously, I am not comparing the two as golfers on a who was better level, but you get the idea.

Never has someone so buried in the rankings been so hotly discussed. I am not trying to take away from what Woods has accomplished but the reality is that he is no longer that same player. He is a 39-year old man with chronic back pain in a sport deemed terrible for your back. He has battled wrist and knee pain separately in the last few years and continues to look lost on the golf course. His game has regressed considerably to the point where he can barely compete at the top level at times.

Don’t take this the wrong way. Tiger Woods was an incredible golfer and athlete. He might be the best golfer of all-time but he has completely lost that form. I think it might still be possible for him to regain it with some more work. Woods has spent way too much time trying to find the perfect golf game and has over analyzed his game to a fault. He can slowly chip his way back into relevance. Until then though, it’s time to stop follow Tiger’s every stroke and let golf go on without the once great Woods at the center of attention.

New home for 2022 World Cup should be obvious

The FBI took down FIFA, the US Men’s team shocked the Netherlands in an international friendly and US Women’s team landed in Canada for the 2015 World Cup. It’s been a good week for soccer in the United States. It could get even better than that too if the FBI finds that the bid allocations that FIFA gave for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were under the circumstances of a bribe or payoff. That would likely mean that both of the World Cups would be reallocated. 

Russia_2018_World_CupWhere exactly the tournaments would be reassigned is still up for debate. A reasonable case can be made for England hosting the 2018 edition because the preparation required is minimal. Sure scheduling might take a little while but the reality is that England is the soccer hub of the world at the domestic level. Britain has 12 stadiums that have a seating capacity of at least 38,000. It also has the historic Wembley Stadium, which would be an excellent site for a World Cup final if you ask me and seats 90,000 fans. The seating capacity is pretty comparable to what Brazil had last summer as well. On top of all of that, England hasn’t hosted a World Cup since 1966.

The reassigning of the 2022 edition is a little trickier. There were several nations that were in the mix and shockingly Qatar was selected. Beyond any tampering that might have gone on with the voting, Qatar shouldn’t be hosting the World Cup anyway. Summer temperatures can reach a startling 120 degrees Fahrenheit and in preparations for the tournament roughly 1,200 migrant workers have died. That number is sure to climb higher as well as we are seven years away from kickoff.

So it makes only too much sense to change the site of the 2022 World Cup. The question that remains is where would it be moved to. The logical answer here would be the nation that finished second in the voting, which was the US.

World Cup StampOn a lot of different levels, a move to America makes sense. From a monetary standpoint, the US would be the best option. The 1994 tournament held in the United States still ranks as the most lucrative one in history. You have to wonder a bit why FIFA would avoid returning to the US in favor of Qatar. Sure, FIFA officials might have been bribed but America would have generated infinitely more revenue for FIFA than Qatar could ever dream of.

There are plenty of critics who claim that soccer is not a big deal in the United States. However, the 1994 World Cup remains the most heavily attended tournament ever. Over the course of all 52 games played that year, the USA brought in over 3.5 million fans. The US still has the highest attendance average as well at roughly 69,000 fans per game. For some reference, the average attendance of a World Cup match if you remove the numbers from the year the US hosted is around 43,250 and the average in Brazil last year was only 53,600.

Preparations for the US wouldn’t be overly difficult either. They have more than enough stadiums to compensate all of the games that need to be played. I went through and found the top 12 stadiums that America could use as host fields. The Citrus Bowl, the Rose Bowl, Ohio Stadium, Bank of America Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, LP Field, Sanford Stadium, University of Phoenix Stadium, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, the Cotton Bowl, Arrowhead Stadium and Soldier Field would all work well for hosting the 64-game schedule.

1280px-The_U.S._Embassy_in_Pretoria_Glows_at_NightThat would bring World Cup matches all over the country and let everyone enjoy the action. Florida, California, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Missouri and Illinois would all have the opportunity to host a game. All of the fields use grass as the playing surface as well so there can be no complaints about the awful conditions of playing on FieldTurf. Travel might be slightly difficult but as long as there is as little coast-to-coast movement as possible, it should work out fine.

It also leaves a few options available for where the final could be played. It could once again return to the Rose Bowl, which is where it was played in 1994, or it could be hosted in Ohio Stadium, home of the Ohio State Buckeyes. What makes Ohio Stadium appealing is its capacity of 102,000 fans. The smallest stadium I selected was Soldier Field and that still has a capacity of 61,500. Based on the average attendance back in ’94, I don’t think there should be an issue with filling these stadiums.

At this point, it seems to be a matter of when not if regarding changes of location. FIFA is in turmoil right now and if the new brain trust that takes over has any hope of avoiding corruption being tagged to their name, they will start fresh. I might be a little bit biased in wanting the USA to be chosen as the 2022 host but the selection would make a ton of sense. It would be another step forward for the growth of soccer stateside. Hopefully, the US gets the chance to make it happen.