Posts tagged NBA
Posts tagged NBA
Sometime tonight, LeBron will act like a 17-year-old high school recruit and put a hat on that speaks to where he would like to play professional basketball. During tonight’s display of how to make 90 percent of the sporting public disgusted, he should emerge wearing a Cleveland Cavilers hat. If it’s a Heat cap, as everyone says it will be, he has forever tarnished his growing legacy as the Next Great American Superstar.
Then, King James officially becomes Robin to Dwyane Wade’s Batman. He officially becomes the league’s best second banana, after being anointed as possibly the best of all-time, a throne held by greats such as Jordan, Magic, Bird and Russell.
He is no longer the King then, but a prince, a jester, something else.
Tonight I sat down and watched the NBA Draft for a few minutes, until I felt the back of my throat tickling, a feeling usually reserved for food poisoning and excessive drinking.
But it’s one all too familiar with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
As a teenager, I wrote the NBA draft date on my calendar. It was the only date I wrote down — not the last day of school, not my Mom’s birthday (sorry Mom), not even Christmas Day (sorry Jesus). Sadly, the enthusiasm that once led a third-grader to draw pictures of the Target Center during class has turned into hardened acrimony.
Any Minnesota Timberwolves fan despises the NBA Draft or at least the Draft Lottery, the system the NBA uses to fill picks. (Quick explanation of the Lottery: Instead of awarding upcoming draft picks in order of worst to first, the NBA takes the worst 14 teams and gives them all a chance for the No. 1 pick. The worst team gets a slight advantage, which decreases as the teams are ranked. Then, they *basically* put some ping-pong balls in a cylinder and pick the winner. Click the link for more details.)
The T-Wolves never jump up the list. Instead, they most always fall down, like this year, from two to four. That might not seem like a big deal, but one year, it was the difference between Shaquille O’Neal and Alonzo Mourning and *pause for significance* Christian Laettner. Sigh.
It’s a big deal.
In the NBA, one player can impact your fortunes more positively than any other of the four professional sports. You need to surround him with good solid role players and second bananas, but you need at least one superstar.
So this year, the Wolves should have had Ohio State’s Evan Turner, who went second. But they did not get Turner, a player a team can build around.
The Timberwolves picked fourth.
Even still, you can whine about the draft order only so much. Eventually, you have to make the right picks. You have to find the Serge Ibakas, the Tony Parkers, the Rocky Mountain Oysters who at this point only look like bull testicles.
But our “brain trust” consistently botches draft picks. Last year, we picked a nervous teenage point guard from Spain and then scared him off by picking another point guard. (To be fair, we picked another one and then traded him away.)
This year, the Timberwolves picked Wesley Johnson. As Jay Bilas told the crowd, Johnson is a good No. 2 option, but not someone who can lead the team.
He’ll fit in nicely with the other four secondary options we have on this team. (Al Jefferson, Johnny Flynn, Corey Brewer, Kevin Love, etc.) Johnson is also already 23 and has likely peaked.
How do the T-Wolves follow this up? They pick up three-point specialist Luke Babbitt, a sleeper who had climbed the draft charts. Nice pick. As a joke, I immediately tweeted “Babbitt at 16 seems nice, but I think the Wolves will probably trade him away in typical crap the bed fashion. Your MN Timberwolves!”
The next tweet came from ESPN’s Chris Ford announcing that they traded Babbitt, for Martell Webster, a disappointment for the Trailblazers. Typical. (They traded Ty Lawson last year and tonight essentially packaged that pick with Ryan Gomes for Martell Webster. Wow, Kahn is in over his head.)
When the Wolves picked O.J. Mayo in 2008, I was ecstatic — a true No. 1 option. The prospect of the team trading him also petrified me though. I stayed up to the end of the draft only to make sure they didn’t trade him. Sadly, they traded him after I went to bed. (My roommate put a note under my door so I could read it in the morning.)
As far as the Wolves are concerned, I should have stayed asleep. Is Tubby staying in town? I hope so.