Welcome to the Wednesday edition of The Cooler, where it’s always a good idea to show your work. Let’s get to it:
*Packers rookie corner Jaire Alexander, a first-round pick in 2018, looks like he’s going to be a pretty good player for years to come. He’s also not lacking in confidence, which is an important trait for any player but particularly for a corner.
That said, he might want to dial it back a little bit when he says things like the Vikings offense wasn’t “that tough” after a 24-17 Minnesota victory on Sunday night. Not only did the comment draw some attention in the immediate aftermath, but with the benefit of hindsight — and film — we can see just how tough the Vikings were.
In particular, Vikings wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs routinely beat Green Bay coverage in both games this season. They combined for 37 catches, 461 yards and five touchdown grabs in the two meetings between the teams — with at least some of that work coming against Alexander.
If you don’t believe the numbers, believe the film. Nick Olson on Twitter put together a compilation video from Sunday’s game after tweeting: “Jaire Alexander said the Vikings weren’t that good, so I went back and checked the tape.”
These are, as the kids like to say, the receipts:
*The Oakland A’s are proposing a multi-use site that includes a new 34,000-seat ballpark. They currently play in the Coliseum, which is politely termed a dump (though not one without its peculiar charms). The new spot would be about a 1,000 percent aesthetic upgrade — on par with the Twins leaving the Metrodome for Target Field. The renderings are spectacular.
*Timberwolves teammates were encouraging and sometimes badgering Tyus Jones to shoot more at the start of the season, and it was seemingly to the detriment of his overall game.
In his first 12 games (before the Jimmy Butler trade), Jones attempted 6.8 shots per game and shot just 30.5 percent from the field. He was a combined minus-58 in those games.
In his last seven games, Jones has attempted just 2.7 shots per game. He’s hitting 47 percent of them, and he’s a plus-39 in those seven games.
This isn’t just a simple Butler-in, Butler-out story. The Wolves were missing other key players aside from General Soreness for stretches earlier this year, including Jeff Teague, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose. That messed with their rotations and probably put Jones into less comfortable spots with less desirable lineups.
But it is worth noting that the Wolves, now at full strength, have a real asset in Jones. In a lineup with Rose, Gorgui Dieng and newcomers Robert Covington and Dario Saric, Jones has thrived by playing good defense and controlling half-court sets while Rose attacks. That five-man group is outscoring opponents by 25 points per 100 possessions in a limited sample size.
*Good stuff here from Bobby Marks of ESPN, who takes a look at some below-the-radar moves this past NBA offseason that have made big impacts. He touches on Rose as one of several minimum-salary guys to pay huge dividends so far.