Wednesday, May 18, 2011

05/18 (Dirk) Quickie

Oh, wow: Dirk.

We have entered a Dirk Nowitzki moment where he has elevated his game (and his team) to such a level that even though he was already an NBA superstar, he (and his damn-near-patented step-back jumper) has gained new admiration from all corners of NBA fandom.

We have been looking for "the next Dirk" for a decade -- it's not unlike looking for the "next Durant" now. But the thing is that Dirk, like Durant, is exceptional for his size-n-shooting combination, as well as his single-minded obsession with improving.

The transcendent players -- and Dirk is there -- don't really have an analogue and they aren't replicable. That is worth keeping in mind as the NBA Draft moves into its post-Lottery phase -- and worth keeping in mind as we all find a renewed appreciation for Dirk's game.

NBA Draft Lottery: Great for the Cavs, who -- thanks to their midseason trade with the Clippers -- get a franchise PG in Kyrie Irving plus another talent at No. 4 (isn't it worth at least asking if the Clips are better off with Derrick Williams at No. 1 and their pick of Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker at No. 4?) Great for 14-year-old Nick Gilbert.

Not great for David Kahn, who not only fronted an extremely unwise joke about the Lottery being fixed (and let's presume he was joking), but he uniquely manages to turn a "two-star draft" (Irving and Williams) into a one-star draft, because Williams plays the same position as the T'wolves' existing young talents.

The big question marks: The international players, from Enes Kanter to Bismack Biyombo to the Euro "V" guys (Valanciunas and Vesely). They should all go Top 10, and at least one will out-perform his pre-draft expectations (so much of that depends on context and opportunity, but I love Biyombo's potential).

NHL: Tyler Seguin is the New Big Thing in Boston. And if you get the Boston sports fans behind you, the national media will follow.

Bulls-Heat Game 2 tonight: This isn't a must-win for the Heat, but at the very least, you want to see some improvement in their rebounding deficiencies from Game 1 (not to mention their inability to solve the Bulls' defense).

A ton of great stuff on Quickish today: Amazing analysis of Dirk, a few mock drafts, some love for Seguin and a link to the must-read SI cover story on the aftermath of the tornado in Alabama -- and that's just this morning. Stick around all day -- and into the evening for Bulls-Heat.

-- D.S.

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