Monday, May 21, 2007

The Lottery Approaches

The NBA Lottery is Tuesday night, and I’m already excited about figuring out where the top players will be heading. I definitely have some preferences, but I’m guessing the odds will win out and destroy my fantastical hopes of how the ping pong balls will bounce. This year, I think winning the lottery is really getting either of the top two picks, so I’m basing my preferred lottery winners on where I would like to see Oden and Kid Nut Raven play next season. Here are the odds for getting either the first or second pick in the lottery.

Memphis 46.5%

Boston 38.7%

Milwaukee 31.3%

Suns (Atlanta) 24.5%

Seattle 18.5%

Portland 11.3%

Minnesota 11.3%

Charlotte 4.1%

Chicago (NY) 4.1%

Sacramento 3.9%

Atlanta (Indy) 1.7%

Philly 1.5%

New Orleans 1.3%

LA Clippers 1.1%

I think it would be interesting to see Oden and Durant both end out on Eastern Conference rosters, because that could shift the power away from the West, and I think that is sort of reflected in my lottery preference. This is not the actual order that I would like for the lottery. It’s just the order of teams that I would like to have either of the top-two picks.

14. Atlanta – First of all, they’ll ruin whoever they get. Although I’ve bashed Oden, I do want to see him turn into a the player he can be in the NBA. It would just be frustrating watching the Hawks try to fit Josh Smith, Josh Childress, Marvin Williams, Kevin Durant, and whoever their foreign small forward is on the floor at the same time. A team of small forwards, you like the sound of that, Leonard? Secondly, remember the Hawks have two lotto picks, but one of them belongs to the Suns if the pick isn’t in the top three. We have to root for the Suns to reel in an Al Horford, Joakim Noah, or Jeff Green, rather than get hosed by the lottery. I must admit a bit of curiosity to see what would happen if the Hawks actually won the top two picks in the draft. I mean, they’d still manage to screw it up, but how? They also still wouldn’t be able to sell out their arena. So sad.

13. Sacramento – these guys had their chance and don’t deserve another bite at the apple. I’d rather see a franchise player go to a younger team.

12. Portland – I guess they’ve cleaned up their image, but they’re still in salary cap hell, and I think Zach Randolph could poison Durant or Oden…literally, I think he might actually put poison in their Gatorade. I don’t know why he’d do it, but I also don’t know why he wears a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle outfit to every game.

11. Seattle – I never saw this low coming for the Sonics during the heyday of the Payton-Schrempf-Kemp teams of the mid-90’s. Perhaps no team has drafted worse the last few years than Seattle, and I don’t think they deserve to be rewarded for that. They deserve that Chinese power forward, Yi Jianlian, and I have no doubt that’s who they will end up with. The Sonics and Hawks are in an arms race. The Hawks are stockpiling small forwards, and the Sonics are going after project big men. So far everybody else is winning.

10. Philly – that guy on House of Payne is trying to use his remote to turn his enormous wife into Beyonce! His REMOTE!!! Hilarious. Any team blessed with Allen Iverson for this long shouldn’t get to have another player that will be incredibly special from Day One. Maybe they can have OJ Mayo next year.

9. Milwaukee – I like the collection of players the Bucks have, and I could see them becoming something pretty decent, but I don’t appreciate their tankfest at the end of the season. The good people of Milwaukee know better, and the Bucks’ brass should as well. Play the game the right way. I just worry that nobody would care if Oden or Durant went to Milwaukee—possibly the least interesting team in the league. One time we completely eradicated the Bucks roster on NBA Live and replaced it with Andre 3000 as the starting point guard, Richie Farmer as the two-guard, Cutter Calhoun at the small forward, Mr. Faceman at the 4, and the Notorious Third Legg holding down the fort in the paint. That Bucks team would be approximately ten jillion times more fun to watch than last years’ team…and yes, I’m even factoring Charlie Villanueva’s lack of eyebrows into that equation.

  1. Memphis – same principle as Milwaukee. I’m just not going to be too excited about them getting Oden or Durant. Let them slip to number three and bring the Tennessee native, Brandan Wright, back home.
  1. LA Clippers -- if they let Maggette rot at the end of the bench, then who is to say the same wouldn’t happen with Durant. And I don’t want anyone taking away Chris Kaman’s minutes, so keep Oden far far away. That said, I think the Clips are probably a Durant away from being a legit contender, and Elton Brand works too hard to be on teams perpetually futile.
  1. Indy -- the Pacers own the rights to their lottery pick only if it's in the top three (technically, they can keep the pick if it's in the top ten, but that's only mathematically possible if they win one of the top three picks). I'd love to see Jermaine O'Neal get a legit running mate, but with all those goofy white guys, where are the minutes? The best justification for hoping the Pacers get Durant or Oden is that either of those guys might be enticing enough for Larry Bird to name himself head coach again.
  1. Minnesota – I wouldn’t mind seeing Garnett get a legit running-mate. And if Oden landed in Minny, Garnett’s intensity would force big Greg to become a great player. Garnett, Foye, and Oden or Durant could be a very formidable threesome next year. And nobody appreciates a good threesome more than this guy.
  1. Charlotte -- I love the Bobcats’ nucleus, but I’m worried that MJ would micro-manage too much if he had Greg or Kid Nut Raven. I don’t think you can really blame Kwame Brown’s entire career on MJ, but I don’t think he helped. If the Bobcats got the number one pick, I honestly don’t know who they would take. They already have Okafur and May down low, and that duo has been very tough when healthy. They also have Morrison (the third pick last year) at Durant’s position. I feel like the Bobcats need a really strong scorer, but considering the health woes of their bigs, maybe Oden is the safer pick.
  1. Boston – they have a team built for the future. A superstar in Paul Pierce already there, and young guys at every other position. Oden could really allow Boston to spread the floor and let Pierce, Rondo, and Green isolate against inferior athletes, which would be fun to watch. Durant would make it extremely tough to double Pierce, so we could see Paul going for over 30 a night. I hate seeing the Celtics suck this badly, but I feel like they’ve been trying to suck for the last two years all building up to tomorrow night. They should have learned in 1997 that you can’t count on getting
  1. New Orleans -- Another team that has a nucleus I really like. But they have greater needs at the 3 and 5 than Charlotte. I would love to see Chris Paul operating with a legit star, and I have some lingering sympathy for the city of New Orleans.
  1. Chicago – The Bulls really feel like a team that is a player away. Deng, Gordon, and company are all very good players, but none have the feel of a super star. Oden or Durant could bring that flair that is lacking in Chicago and immediately put them over the top. But let’s be honest, I just really want to see one of these guys get picked by the team that owns New York’s unprotected first round pick. Even Atlanta was smart enough to at least protect its pick for one of the most top-heavy drafts in the last twenty years.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mustache Rides in Lexington

Patrick Patterson ended his ass-kissing extravaganza and finally picked UK. This undoes all the hurt left on Black Monday when Jai Lucas, Mikey Sanchez, and my Facebook friend, Beas Hamga all decided to go elsewhere. I'm still a little confused that Hamga's guardian was really concerned about the UK faithful exerting undue influence over the naive Cameroonian, and felt that he needed to be in a place that was a little more Las Vegas. No sense worrying about that though, Patrick is bringing his mustache, penchant for rebounds, and all my wildest dreams with him to Lexington.

I’ll even give Tubby an assist on this one. Patterson was the rare recruit that Tubby set his sights on extremely early, and I think Tubby’s diligence helped bring in the big fella. But it sounds like Gillispie’s in home visit was what really clinched it. Billy Clyde’s organization and full-bore attention to everything in Patterson’s life made this possible. I also think Alex Legion deserves being mentioned in this recruitment. He's been calling Patterson because they played together over the summer, and he just has a cool name, so I assume people like him. Hopefully Legion is able to sway his Oak Hill teammate, Brandon Jennings to come to Lexington too (for more on Jennings, check out some highlights accompanied by some sweet beats that Leonard was dropping). Patterson is the first high-profile legitimate power forward inked by UK since they brought in Jason Parker in 2000 and Chuck Hayes in 2001. It’s a shame that Patterson won’t get to play alongside Randolph, but Patterson made himself a building block for the future of the UK program, and UK seems well on their way to putting many more talented pieces around him.

Patterson really boosts decent recruiting class that already included top-tier shooting guard, Alex Legion, forward A.J. Stewart, and Shrek (Mike Williams). I honestly think this brings UK’s class to top-fifteen status nationally. Is signing Patterson a big enough deal for me to get drunk before five? You bet your ass it is.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Off the Respirator

Clear…..and we’re back. Thanks to the healing powers of Baron Davis’s beard Awesome USA! is ready to get it back together. We apologize to our valued readers for our lack of diligence. I could make a lot of excuses, but that’s not how I play the game. We let you down and now we’ll do everything in our power to regain your trust. Fortunately, not much has happened in the wide world of sports since our last post. Pretty much just the first 1.5 rounds of the NBA playoffs, the NFL draft, the biggest horse race of the year, the fight to save boxing, and one big, naked German doing aquatic gymnastics in my grandparents’ pool. Don’t expect any continuity to this post, I’ll just do the James Joyce-inspired stream of consciousness sports writing that has garnered fame and riches for so many great writers before me.

I am still confused by people who complain about the Jazz being a boring team to watch. I think AK-47, Deron Williams, and Mehmet Okur are three of the more enjoyable players to watch.

Kirilenko has become the official Swiss Army Knife of the NBA (my condolences, KG). He does everything on the court and runs the offense for the Jazz pretty damn well when Utah is put in a tough spot. I’ve heard that it is amazing to watch Williams in person because it is so rare to see someone so big and strong that can move as fluidly as he does. And I’m a sucker for Okur, because he has a great jumper, the Euro-trash hair cut, and he even hits the boards. Throw in Carlos Boozer’s awesome chest hair, Gordon Giricek’s name, and the Jazz are simply a treasure. I’d be remiss to leave out the fact that Jerry Sloan is an outstanding coach, and Natty would gladly perform any disgusting sex act to please Jerry. By the way, Giricek, Kirilenko, Okur, Williams, and Boozer form probably the closest thing to an all-white starting five in the NBA that we’ll see until the Germans take over—remember that Boozer is Alaskan. Speaking of Boozer, is he actually an Eskimo…if so, does that prove that Eskimos are real? Does Carlos also ride a unicorn to games? Natty, please help me out here.

This endorsement of the Jazz comes with a caveat, because Carlos Boozer’s white head on his forehead in Game 2 set the HD revolution back at least four years.

In my most recent post (seven months ago) I mentioned that Mike Vick is allegedly a wine connoisseur. I wasn’t sure where to go with that then, but now we know that he is the one and only wine connoisseur/dog fight promoter out there. But seriously, there is nothing more delightful than enjoying a nice Chianti while watching two half-starved dogs try to kill each other. Due to my love of animals and loathing of wine snobs, I no longer endorse Mike Vick….not even for use in Madden. So yeah, it’s pretty serious. I think his career is becoming as disappointing as Ryan Leaf's.

Calvin Borel is probably the best thing to happen to the Derby in the last ten years. That post-race interview was outstanding. My favorite part was when one of the reporters asked him how it felt to win the Derby with the Queen in attendance, and he started laughing hysterically and sarcastically replied that it meant the world to him. With Jake Delhomme’s recent decline, Calvin has easily become my favorite Cajun athlete.

Oh yeah, Ricky Williams failed a drug test….for marijuana. He received this unexpected news while listening to some Bob Marley riffs and eating Doritos after finishing a yoga routine at his Holistic healing center.

I guess nothing should surprise me less than Pacman Jones doing something stupid, but unless I misunderstood something, he actually came straight from a strip club to his meeting with Roger Goodell. Did he think Goodell wasn’t going to be able to detect the sweet smell of stripper all over Mr. Jones? Well let me tell you all something: Roger knows the smell of strippers like the back of his hand, and only and idiot would try to sneak that past Goodell. I guess it is easy to forget that being a football player is actually a profession for these guys…you know since they technically only work sixteen days a year and when they do that, they wear skin tight pants and helmets…but think if Pacman had a regular job and did these things. Not only does he not deserve to play in the NFL, but he doesn’t deserve to have any job.

UK Basketball is back on the rise. Any doubters out there are idiots. I’m not saying that Billy Clyde Gillispie will restore UK to the dominance of the mid-90’s--you can only dream of putting teams that dominant together, expecting it is too much. Gillispie is bringing a freshness and aggressiveness to the program that has been lacking for the past few years. I love Gillispie’s attitude. Whereas Tubby required players that fit into a specific role Tubby envisioned for them, Gillispie simply wants talented players. If he gets talented players, he’s confident that he’s a good enough coach to form those players into a dominating team. Tubby fixed his sights on a top prospect with a long-distance backup plan. His answer to missing Brandan Wright was letting Mark Coury walk onto the team. Gillispie appears to be happy just recruiting four or five prospects at a position of need and believing that any one of those guys is capable of being a star. The fact that Patterson and Lucas are still considering UK just shows that the program was pitching itself, not the coach. That's all for now bitches, but we're going to try to right this ship. Keep Thelonius in your thoughts.

P.S. I'm looking for a man date for a wedding in Tennessee. My wife is probably going to bail on me. Please submit applications. Preference for candidates who appreciate 80's music....and body shots.