LOTTERY RESULTS IN! Blazers win big (or do they -- seems like the Oden-vs-Durant debate isn't nearly as open-and-closed as mainstream commentators might suggest). Sonics win bigger (can't lose in the No. 2 spot this year). Hawks save themselves from having to give their pick to the Suns, but end up 3rd in a 2-horse race, with the only option screwing up yet another pick. Grizzlies and Celtics are the biggest losers, falling out of the Top 3 altogether. MORE IN THE A.M. FEEL FREE TO COMMENT ON IT ALL NIGHT.
NBA Draft Lottery: What does it say that tonight's NBA Draft Lottery is the biggest event of the NBA season, let alone the postseason?
It says that the NBA Playoffs this year have been pretty lame.
It says that the two talents at the top of the draft are potentially franchise-changers of the LeBron-Duncan variety – and that this draft is as deeply stocked with talent as any in NBA history. (Thank you, artificial restraint on talent!)
It says that David Stern's new age-limit has worked a little TOO well. Sure, there's increased hype for Oden and Durant (who would have gone 1-2 in LAST year's draft, BTW), but the unintended consequence of the age-limit is that there's SO much hype that the Lottery eclipses the playoffs.
As I've been saying for a while now, this Lottery is the most dramatic since the LeBron Lottery of 2003 – and perhaps the most impactful Lottery since the Duncan Lottery of 1997. In fact, I'd even say MORE impactful.
That's because there are TWO super-impact players: Ostensibly, center Greg Oden almost certainly will go first, just about no matter who gets the pick. Why? Just look at the Spurs.
But not since Michael Jordan has a player NOT taken first overall been as intriguing as Kevin Durant, who will be the No. 2 player taken... OK, if he doesn't bump Oden out of the No. 1 slot. (The Bucks, for example, have a 15.6 percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick, and they would certainly take Durant, pairing him with C Andrew Bogut and SG Michael Redd.)
Durant will be the spectacular pro everyone says he will be, if – IF – he is in a position to be the No. 1 player on his team. The player I compare him to most -- as a versatile, outside-in, near-7-foot position-redefining freak -- is Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk wasn't The Man on the Mavs in his rookie season, but eventually, they built the team around him. If Durant isn't The Man on his new team immediately, you can be sure that whoever is (Paul Pierce? Ray Allen? Michael Redd? Joe Johnson?) will either eventually cede stardom -- or be moved out.
The bottom line: Not one but TWO teams will be radically transformed – on- and off-court – with the big "reveal" tomorrow night. You'll never see a GM who wins the No. 2 pick be as happy in your life.
Meanwhile, the next-biggest drama will be whether the Hawks get into the first three picks. Because if they don't, the Suns will get their pick, which could be as high as No. 4 (and no lower than 7). That would be the best example yet of "rich getting richer." And don't expect PHX to screw it up, like the Pistons did in 2003.
Finally, the third-biggest storyline is, appropriately, "Who's No. 3?" There's no shame in being the 3rd overall pick in a 2-superduperstar draft. Will it be Yi, the next Yao? Obviously, I am personally intrigued to speculate where
Here's how excited I am about tonight's Draft Lottery: I'm going to come out of live-blogging hibernation to live-blog the thing myself on Deadspin, right around 8:30 p.m. ET. Full coverage here tomorrow a.m. Feel free to drop by here tonight to weigh in early.
Pistons edge Cavs as LeBron chokes: Maybe that's too harsh. Maybe I should credit the Detroit D for holding LeBron to a playoff-low 10 points (5/15 FG). LeBron did add 10 rebounds and 9 assists, but why was he passing up the potential game-saving shot with 6 seconds to go? Because he knew he wasn't "on" for the night? Or because he didn't want to take the shot? (BTW: What good is LeBron's bulk if he can't muscle past wispy Tayshaun Prince?)
Vick Doggy Dogg: I'll let the lead of the latest Atlanta Journal-Constitution story say it all. "Three envelopes addressed to "M. Vick" were among evidence seized by police under the authority of a search warrant executed on the
Yankees beat Red Sox:
(Related: Despite Jason Giambi's problems with his big
biceps mouth, rumor has it (via the NY Post) that the Angels might want to trade for Giambi. Or is that just wishful thinking by Yankees partisans?
MLB Stud, Team: Indians, who improved to 17-4 at home with a win over the Mariners that was the make-up game for the "snow-out" game in April.
MLB Stud, Player: Carlos Quentin, who hit 2 HR and drove in the go-ahead run in the D'backs' 6-5 win over
MLB Dud: The White Sox players who are apparently using radio-show appearances to rip each other. How team-friendly! Ozzie just wants the players to battle it out, UFC-style, in the locker room. How team-friendlier!
Chris Henry, All-Pro Dumbass: Maybe it'll turn out that his failed drug screening was a false positive. But, given his history, does he really deserve the benefit of the doubt?
Super Bowl 2011 host city:
Know the Name: Larry Zierlein. He's the Steelers assistant who accidentally (I presume) forwarded an email with porn attached to team employees and their secretaries. What a test case for the Commish's new "Get Tough" crackdown. (Steelers personnel guy Doug Whaley was the one who originally forwarded Zierlein the email, giving new meaning to the title "Director of Personnel." Whaley should be punished, too.)
New Rockets coach Rick Adelman: Ahh, there's nothing that says "spring renewal" like the NBA's uninspiring recycling program for coaches.
Pats re-sign Junior Seau: Not bad for a guy who retired a year ago.
Lisa Leslie to miss WNBA season on maternity leave: That also makes her eligible to lose her scholarship at Clemson.
Boxing: Was George Foreman drugged before the legendary "Rumble in the Jungle?" That's what he claims in a new memoir, which smacks of sketchiness in an attempt to sell more books. Sure, it's a sensational claim – it's only the most high-profile moment in boxing history (up there with Louis beating Schmeling and Tyson biting Holyfield) – but I really want to know: WHAT ABOUT THE GRILLS?!
CFB: It's official.
New Varsity Dad post up this morning. Definitely moving quickly toward a full-blown launch of this new blog. (Here's the direct link to the story I posted about today. If you are a parent, it might make you choke up. Sort of like how you might have choked up during The Sopranos' scene between Tony and AJ by the pool.)