So there was a big loser in last night's NBA Lottery -- and, no, it wasn't the Wizards or Kings (although both totally lost out). It was Blake Griffin.
That leads today's SN column: Griffin may be the No. 1 overall pick, but he's got to go to the Purgatory of the Clippers. To a terrible coach. To a market where his team is 2nd rate and Griffin's brand of blue-collar is totally unappreciated. And he his new rival is Zach Randolph.
That, my friends, is a terrible ending. Stay in school? Why bother, if this is your fate? (Remember when a draft-day destiny with the Clippers meant that you threaten to go play in Europe? Now you play in Europe BEFORE the NBA.)
Griffin would have been better off entering the NBA a year ago, getting NBA coaching, playing for a playoff team and being one year closer to free agency -- who cares if he would have been picked in bottom half of the Lottery (and there's no guarantee he would have dropped that far, btw -- he may have gone ahead of Kevin Love into the Top 5).
With the Lottery scramble, there are a couple of weird scenarios:
*The Clippers are forced to take a player who plays the same position as their highly-paid, impossible-to-trade big man Z-Bo...
*While everyone assumes that Ricky Rubio would be the No. 2 pick, the Grizzlies don't need him as much as a shot-blocking center like Hasheem Thabeet (although think Memphis is regretting that wasted pick on PG Mike Conley now?)
*The Thunder -- everyone's favorite bandwagon "aren't-they-cool" team that won't contend for the playoffs for a half-decade more or longer -- get the No. 3 pick and, perhaps, Rubio. How much more star-player cachet can one team have?
*The Kings get stuck with the No. 4 pick -- where do you go there, when the guy you take there might be worse than the player taken 10 picks later?
*The Wizards get stuck with the No. 5 pick -- classic Wiz "luck" -- and even though Chad Ford has them taking the sensible, NBA-ready (so they say) James Harden, I can't believe they won't try to trade the pick.
Perhaps the Knicks -- desperate for Stephen Curry (LeBron's buddy, of course) -- would take on a bad Wiz contract or two for a year to vault ahead of teams that would take Curry at 6 or 7, before the Knicks draft 8th.
Let me make this clear: Stephen Curry will NOT be available to the Knicks at No. 8. By the time the pre-draft workout season is over, Curry will be a lock for the Top 5.
Anyway, it's NBA Mock Draft season (Chad Ford is my gold standard), and I couldn't be happier about it.
Oh, and Kobe stole one from the Nuggets -- if Denver won last night, they would have had a very very very good shot at winning the series; but by losing -- and outplaying the Lakers while doing it -- they might melt down to "typical playoff Nuggets" after their brilliant run thus far.
Complete column here. More later.