Tuesday, May 18, 2010
David Stern didn't rig the lottery
By Henry Abbott
J.E. Skeets did. Seriously, watch him put his Skeetsian mind meld on this poor defenseless Toronto psychic.
She basically said the Nets were going to win tonight's lottery for the simple reason that Skeets told her to say that. Until he intervened, she was saying the Knicks were going to win the lottery, which would be a tough call, as they have just a 2.2% chance of winning, and owe their pick to the Utah Jazz anyway.
If Giovanna has sway in the spirit world, Mikhail Prokhorov owes Skeets a jet ski or something.
Seriously, though, I am headed to the lottery tonight -- I think I'll once again be in the secret room with the pingpong balls -- and before I go in, I'm trying to get a sense of which team has the most riding on the outcome of that little clear machine with the numbered balls whirring around inside. The five teams with the best chances of winning the top overall pick:
- The Nets had the worst record, are desperately trying to impress free agents, and need to build the team that will justify the fantastic costs of their new stadium in Brooklyn. On the other hand, they already have the commitment of one of sports' richest owners and lots of young talent, so for the first time in a long time it's hard not to see the Nets as needing luck to stave off doom.
- The Timberwolves have slashed prices like crazy to keep the building reasonably full, finished a desperately bad 15-67, and badly need a big draft win to quiet the second-guessing that results from last year's Jonny Flynn/Ricky Rubio double lottery question marks. Also worth noting is that they have Al Jefferson, in his prime, being somewhat wasted. They have a three-year plan, but it would be much better for all involved if it only took one or two years, and some luck tonight could help.
- The Kings essentially lost the draft lottery last year. They were the team with the worst record and ended up with the worst pick they could have possibly gotten -- the fourth. But the Kings really won the draft, nabbing Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans and watching as top overall pick Blake Griffin was hurt. So they can go in with a "no pressure" attitude. They don't need the pingpong balls. But it won't be entirely convincing. They're still a team in need of a stadium solution in a miserable economy. They're still a team that has been cutting costs every way imaginable. And despite the presence of Evans, they are a 25-win team that needs upgrades at almost every position not manned by someone called "Tyreke." Not to mention, click that link at the top of the post: Giovanna the Toronto psychic says she's concerned for the Kings.
- The Warriors are in good shape, because even though they've had nothing but a long string of disappointments since they beat the Mavericks in the playoffs three years ago, they have a fantastic market, an impassioned and deep-pocketed new owner in the works, and this really pretty graph.
- The Wizards went into last season with a new coach in Flip Saunders, and high hopes built on the veteran squad of Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood. But after the death of the team's longtime owner, Arenas' gun folly, and some housecleaning trades, from that list only Saunders and an image-compromised, overpaid Arenas remain. Moving forward, the 26-win Wizards have Arenas at an outrageous salary to go with Andray Blatche, Al Thornton, Javale McGee and probably Randy Foye and Quinton Ross. "Cap space" wins in a landslide, in terms of ranking the team's best basketball assets, even though it's hard to find anybody who thinks the Wizards are about to lure anyone like LeBron James. Meanwhile, the Wizards have Barack Obama in the stands from time to time. There's a certain obligation to put on a good show.
What do you think? Which team has the most desperate need for John Wall? Let us know below ...