10. The Wolves
Watching another All-NBA player walk out of Minneapolis is going be painful for Wolves fans. And losing Love is going be tougher than when Kevin Garnett was traded to the Celtics. When Garnett left he was 30 years old, had spent 12 seasons trying to bring the Wolves to relevance, won an MVP, and made it to a conference finals in 2004. Love on the other hand is only 25 years old, has never been able to give the Wolves fans a playoff run, and would still be on the team for two more seasons had former GM David Kahn given him a max extension.
The smallest of silver linings though is that there will be no shortage of teams willing to trade multiple assets for Kevin Love. Since both the Celtics and Lakers didn’t make it into the top three of the lottery they may both look make a play for Love. The Cavs could also make a play for Love, since they have their own all-star to please before he’s able to bolt for a more successful franchise. In addition to those three the Bulls, Warriors, Sixers, Suns, Rockets, Knicks (only in a ceremonial fashion), and Jazz (my dark horse pick) will all at the very least make calls to the Wolves to see what it’d take to trade for Love. With that many teams the Wolves could start a very serious bidding war for the young power forward. If Flip Saunders can learn a thing or two from the Orlando Magic/Dwight Howard situation he could have the team back on the upswing in a relatively short period of time.
9. Ernst & Young
How did Ernst & Young become the official accounting firm of stuffing and delivering envelopes for all forms of entertainment? They’re stuffing the envelopes at the NBA lottery, the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmys, and the Golden Globes. When envelopes need stuffing people in sports and entertainment call Ernst & Young. Doesn’t Deloitte deserve their time in the spotlight just once?
8. The Charlotte
The bizarro Charlotte Hornets had a big week. They finally put to rest the terrible Bobcats name, which hopefully includes these “Nascar Night” uniforms. The Charlotte basketball fans had without a doubt the worst mascot in the NBA. They can thank former owner Robert Johnson for the atrocious name. While not confirmed, there has always been suspicion that Johnson chose the Bobcats name because his name was a part of the mascot. If that rumor is ever confirmed we’ll know the cause of the organizations previous ten years of basketball, which resembled Bobcat excrement. When I buy the 76ers I’m going rename them the Philadelphia Druids. Look at what has happened since Jordan and the Charlotte organization announced they’d be changing the name back last May.
- Jordan went from being a completely incompetent owner to a below average owner with the selection of Steve Clifford as head coach
- They were able to sign Al Jefferson in the off season, who brought some respectability to the franchise and played like a legitimate all star
- Their 2013 NBA Draft pick Cody Zeller doesn’t look like a complete train wreck. A comment most 2013 lottery teams couldn’t say about their selection in last year’s draft.
- Clifford got a marginally talented Charlotte roster to rank 6th in Defense Rating this season.
- The team won 43 games and made the playoffs for only the second time in 10 years
- And last night thanks to Joe Dumars, Corey Maggette, and the abomination that was the Ben Gordon contract the Hornets received the 9th overall pick from the Pistons. The highest the pick could have been without it carrying over another year.
Because the team was so good defensively in 2013/2014 and so terrible shooting the ball (25th in FG%, 23rd in 3FG%, 24th in FT%, and 24th in OffRtg) Doug McDermott might be the perfect piece to add to the team, along with whatever they do with Portland’s 2014 first round pick (24th overall), and the 18 million plus they’ll have in cap space this summer.
7. Dell Demps’ psychiatrist
I couldn’t help but feel a little bad for Dell Demps last night. When watching him all I could think of was the scene in Terminator 2 when Miles Dyson agrees to stay back to blow up Cyberdyne, and is left with only his thoughts and past mistakes just before setting the bomb off. I can’t imagine anyone else in the New Orleans organization volunteered to go to New York and force a smile knowing that there is almost no chance of the team keeping the pick. So like a good soldier Demps went to NYC and ate the grenade all by himself, muttering “I don’t know how much longer I can hold this.”
I’m thrilled the Sixers will have two top 10 picks heading into the draft, but god dammit it was painful seeing Demps up at the podium. This isn’t all on Demps either. Ownership demanded they try to win this season, which is what led to the Holiday for Noel and a 2014 1st round pick trade. Now that the trade is complete I’ll be rooting for the Pelicans next year, because as of right now this trade looks like it could end up being one of the most lopsided in recent memory.
6. The Eastern Conference
Lost in all of the other compelling story lines is the fact that teams from the Eastern Conference control 5 of the top 6 picks, 7 of the top 10, 8 of the 14 lottery picks, and 13 of the top 20 selections. The West has been the deeper conference for more than a decade, but sports are cyclical and if the Eastern Conference teams pick correctly the talent gap between the East and the West could begin to shrink after the draft.
5. Orlando Magic
The Magic are well on their way back to playoff contention. They have young players on the rise in Nikolas Vucevic, Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo, and Moe Harkless. A veteran in Aaron Afflalo that could net them more young assets or picks in a trade, and the 4th and 12th picks in the draft. By the end of the draft the Magic could field a starting five of Vucevic, Harris, James Young, Oladipo, and Dante Exum. Maybe the Magic also decide to get in on the Kevin Love action. They certainly have the trade chips to pull it off.
4. Philadelphia 76ers
I’ll go more in depth with regard to the Sixers options later, but their plan to demolish the roster and start over has worked out wonderfully so far. A year ago they were picking 11th with the potential of losing their 2013 1st round pick, no real salary cap relief and no direction. Thanks to a team wide commitment to blow the whole thing up the Sixers now have the reigning rookie of the year, the 3rd and 10th picks in the upcoming draft, 5 more second round picks, 30 million in cap room, and they’ll have a chance to what they have in Noel. Getting the first overall pick would have been ideal, but as I’ve said before drafting MCW where they did in last year’s draft is already lucky. Of the 65 ROY winners only 5 were picked lower than 10th in the draft. Carter-Williams is the first since Mark Jackson won in 1988. Like winning a championship you need some luck to go your way when building a team, and the Sixers got some of that luck with the selection of Carter-Williams.
Most people consider this a four person draft, and the Sixers are picking third. Getting the 5th pick would have been tough to swallow, but at 3 the Sixers will have the opportunity to draft Wiggins, Parker, Embiid, or Exum. Plus they’ll draft another player at 10 that could be Stauskas, LaVine, or maybe Aaron Gordon if things fall right for Hinkie and the Sixers. Hinkie also has Thaddeus Young and ample cap space to maneuver the team into what he feels is the best draft position. The team is going be the NBA equivalent of a day care center next season, but they are going be exciting for the first time in a dozen years and may even make it back onto national television.
3. Mallory Edens
So let me get this straight. Mallory Edens is gorgeous, can get court side seats to any NBA game she chooses, and will receive a substantial trust fund if she hasn’t already. Wait, she definitely hasn’t received that trust fund yet since she’s just graduating from high school. I was going make a joke about Tinder and swiping right for Mallory. Now I feel slightly dirty. I’m also creeped out that her dad was cool with pimping her out on stage like that. Simmons always mentions new owners want to make big moves right away, and judging from his decision to put his hot 18 year old daughter on national tv I’d bet new owner Wed Edens is going be more involved with Bucks personnel decisions. Mitch Kupcheck is probably on the phone with Wes Edens right now telling him he can have his daughter on the next season of Real Housewives in exchange for Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo.
2. The Cleveland Cavaliers
I believe it was former president Franklin Roosevelt who said, “Cleveland blows.” My entire extended family is from the Cleveland area, and I’ll have not problem letting them know my thoughts on the city’s sports franchises. After the lottery results the Cleveland fan base can no longer claim to be the most tortured sports city. If they can’t put a respectable team on the court next season Dan Gilbert should be stripped of his son’s bow tie and his ownership of the Cavs. The Cavs shouldn’t win the lottery again until we’re within five years of the sun burning out. You’re on the clock Cleveland. Don’t fuck this up, again.
1. The Julius Erving “WHAT THE FUCK” Face
When Irving heard the Sixers name after the 10th pick I thought he was going charge Adam Silver like a crazy-eyed William Wallace and stuff him into the lottery ball machine. After a few seconds and a quick explanation of what was going on the good doctor settled back down. In fairness, this was the first time I remember them announcing the actual team picking and not the original team with the pick so I understand his confusion. Also my buddy Tanner pointed out, you got the briefest of glimpses into how competitive guys like Irving are at any age and in any scenario where there is a winner.
Thank you to Dan McQuade of Phillymag.com for doing God’s work and making the Dr. J. reaction into a gif.