NBA Draft Diary

We’re 15 minutes away from the 2013 NBA Draft, otherwise known as the Worst Draft Ever. We’ve been spending weeks trying to convince ourselves that this draft isn’t that bad, and Jay Bilas just put things into perspective: “if this draft started at 5, and the Cavs picked from there, we’d be talking about how deep this draft is.” So that’s where we are. Unfortunately the draft doesn’t start at 5. Heather Cox just interviews Alex Len, quizzing him about how his injury feels and how his rehab process is going, only to close the interview saying “enjoy every minute of tonight,” as if to tell him THIS IS THE PEAK OF YOUR NBA CAREER, IT’S NEVER GONNA GET BETTER THAN THIS. Heather Cox and I agree on that. The camera then cuts to Sergey Karasev, the Russian sweet shooting 6’7 guard, smiling as he’s most likely getting berated by the New York fans. Perhaps the most unbearable recurring theme of this draft, as always, is Fran Fraschilla giving us the low-down on every international prospect in the draft, telling us how each of them would’ve lit up the US and how they’ll all have nice long careers. GOOD GOD why is Shane Battier an ESPN correspondent tonight? Rece Davis just said Battier was taking care of ESPN’s Twitter, calling it “ShaneCenter.” I don’t know who thought this was a good idea.

It’s Draft time. Let’s get this thing under way. Get ready for a roller coaster of a night, folks.

7:30 p.m. ET — ESPN is going with an old-school theme, narrated by Magic Johnson. I kind of dig it, if not for the  fact that most of these guys they’re showing probably won’t be in the league in a few years! As always, David Stern is getting booed by everyone in the Barclays Center, and Stern loves it. I can’t wait until he steps down. He took way too much delight saying “the Heat took home the second straight title,” as the fans go nuts.

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NBA Draft Unknowns

With the conclusion of the NHL Playoffs last night, we have but one event left before we descend into the deep, dark abyss that is summer sports.  Our one last hurrah before we are subject to two-hour Baseball Tonight nightmares every night is the NBA draft.   It is an event that can change a franchise’s fortunes for decades unlike any other in sports.  Basketball is so unique in the sense that a single player can change a team from a doormat to a contender.

Enjoy the Draft because after that, we are all subject to Baseball Tonight, otherwise known as the Summer Sports Nightmare.

You don’t want to see these three guys after midnight on a summer night.

With the success of the Spurs this year, it has never been clearer that these franchise-altering players can come from anywhere in the draft.  They may be college superstars like Tim Duncan, virtual unknowns such as Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, or somewhere in between like Kawhi Leonard.  By far the most intriguing of these categories is the second because it is the one ever fan dreads the most.  No one wants to hear their team pick that mid-major kid who has barely been mentioned by analysts and never played on national TV.  Even worse is the completely unknown EuroLeague player. In fact, the only time drafting a EuroLeaguer was when the Wizards drafted Jan Vesely started making out with his smokeshow girlfriend and claimed Blake Griffin was the “American Jan Vesely.” We all know how that turned out.

Not many from either category have a long shelf-life in the NBA these day but each team is still willing to take a gamble on the off chance that they find that player that is the missing link between them and a championship.  Here are a few of these unknowns that have made it onto mock drafts:

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NBA Mock Draft

The day is here! Numerous NBA teams are going to go out of their way to expose their incompetence tonight! We’re going to see picks that cost teams for years to come. We’ll see Michael Jordan pick someone he destroyed in 1 on 1, and maybe even called “a flaming f*ggot.” We probably will not see a franchise player drafted. We could see each of the top 3 picks traded on draft night. Whatever happens tonight, we will be ready. This is “the most unpredictable draft” Chad Ford has ever seen, and we still don’t even know who’s going number one. Tonight is sure to confuse many, and predicting the order of the draft this year is pretty much impossible. We will give our best shot here at a mock draft, but it will be based on who teams should select, combined with what we think will happen.

i1. Nerlens Noel
Despite all of the trade rumors, the Cavs will be forced to keep the pick and take Noel. Noel is not a bad prospect, but in most drafts, a 206 pound center with a torn ACL would not be selected first. The Cavs have talked about taking Noel, Len, and trading the pick, so it’s anyone’s guess what they’ll do with the pick. They should take Victor Oladipo, but they’ll most likely go with a big man here.

i2. Victor Oladipo
Oladipo was dubbed the safest prospect by the GMs in the league, and for good reason. At the very least, he will be an elite defender in the NBA. If he continues to develop his offense, namely his perimeter shooting, then he could be an all star. The Magic could be tempted to take McLemore here, but Oladipo is a far safer prospect with little chance of failing in the NBA.

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NBA Draft Bold Predictions

On the eve of what many people have called the worst draft of all time, we are hearing numerous trade rumors that could drastically alter where players are drafted. There’s a good chance the Cavaliers won’t make the first selection tomorrow night, as they continue to try to move the pick for a superstar like Kevin Love. After the Cavs, the Magic have been linked to trades too, looking to shop the pick if they can’t get Nerlens Noel. We have no idea who will be picking when, and in a draft lacking in franchise players, this is one of the most confusing drafts in recent memory. It may be more valuable this year to stockpile picks at the end of the first round than to have a pick at the top, considering the difference between the 6th and 26th pick could be minimal. Will there really be a huge difference between the career of Ben McLemore and Tim Hardaway Jr? We all know that fit matters as much or more as talent when it comes to the draft. This is the first year in a long time where the first pick is unknown the night before the draft. Predicting the order of the draft this year will be nearly impossible this year, but we will try to make a few bold predictions on what will happen tomorrow night.

1. The Cavaliers will make the first selection tomorrow night. Okay okay, this may not seem too bold, but given the number of trades linked to the Cavs recently, it would be a surprise if the Cavs keep the pick. They’ve tried to get Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Demarcus Cousins, but to this point, they’ve been unsuccessful. They shouldn’t feel pressured to trade the pick. Each of these players has all-star talent, but is also damaged goods to an extent. Love may be capable of putting up 25 and 15, but he also hasn’t played a full NBA season once in his career. Aldridge is an interesting player, but like Love, has never been to the playoffs and it’s not clear just how good he is since his team has been so bad. Cousins is the most intriguing player here, but his character issues would be enough to tear apart the Spurs. The Cavs should feel comfortable moving forward with a Kyrie, Waiters, Thompson, and Noel nucleus.

The Cavs have been trying to trade the top pick for Love.

The Cavs have been trying to trade the top pick for Love.

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The LeBron Age

Thank God the Heat won. Those words probably haven’t been said by anyone outside of Miami, but we are lucky that the Heat did what they were supposed to do: win the Finals. If the Spurs had pulled out the upset, we all would have had to deal with an entire summer and NBA season about how the Heat need to break up the Big 3 and how LeBron isn’t who we thought he was. Thankfully, LeBron dominated Game 6 and 7 to cap off his second straight Finals MVP. His legacy path is a little clearer for all of us now. He’s on track to be one of the greatest to ever play the game. If the Heat had lost and LeBron was 1-3 in the Finals, with two so-so performances (’11 and ’13), his legacy would have been muddled forever. 130604100019-lebron-james-miami-heat-san-antonio-spurs-nba-finals-single-image-cutHis accomplishments would be overshadowed by his inability to come up big when it really mattered. Last year’s Finals would have been seen as a fluke, the only time he came up huge in the clutch. Now, we can all agree with certainty that LeBron is the greatest player in the world, and the greatest player we’ve seen since MJ.Magic Johnson said it after Game 7. LeBron has the best chance of anyone we’ve seen to surpass Jordan.

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Brazil Clinches Confederations Cup Semi-Final with 2-0 Win Over Mexico

bra con cup

Brazil extended its win streak to 3 games with a 2-0 win over Mexico in its second game of the Confederations Cup. With the win, Brazil has qualified for the semi-finals along with Italy who defeated Japan 4-3 in a thriller. The Saturday match-up between Brazil and Italy will decide the group’s winner which could be crucial because the winner will most likely avoid playing Spain in the semi-finals. Brazil will win the group with a draw or win because of goal differential which gives them the upper hand entering the final group stage match.

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LeBron’s Legacy

Following LeBron’s passive performance in Game 3 against the Spurs, critics everywhere took the opportunity to take a swipe at LeBron and how his legacy was at stake once again. If LeBron didn’t put up a triple-double with at least 30 points, then his legacy was tainted forever. If LeBron didn’t drop over 40 in a win, he wasn’t an all-time great. If LeBron… Okay, you get the point. We’ve heard this nonsense before and frankly, it’s getting old. Maybe it’s a sign of just how good LeBron is that his standard is so ridiculously high. LeBron-haters will exist for eternity, ever since The Decision and his disappearing act in the 2011 Finals against the Mavs. We get it. You don’t want LeBron to be mentioned in the same breath as Bird, Magic, Russell, and Oscar Robertson. ox281254146348480466And HEAVEN FORBID you put him in the same breath as Michael Jordan. We get it. I too was once a LeBron-hater, eager to call Kevin Durant or Derrick Rose the best player in the league. Eventually, after LeBron reached another gear, and showed how much better he is than Durant, I conceded and began to embrace LeBron. To all the haters though: just remember that LeBron is already one of the 10 greatest players to ever play the game, and he’s only 28 years old.

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NBA Finals Storylines

1. Will LeBron avenge his 2007 Finals loss to the Spurs?
If LeBron can carry the Heat to the title this year, we can comfortably say that he is in the discussion with Magic and Larry as one of the best player ever. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh have been less helpful than Mo Williams and Anderson Varejao in this year’s playoffs.

LeBron will need more help than he received in 2007 if he's going to beat the Spurs.

LeBron will need more help than he received in 2007 if he’s going to beat the Spurs.

Wade isn’t even close to a shadow of himself, and Bosh’s game has slowly regressed ever since joining Miami. LeBron isn’t completely on his own, but if the Heat win the title, it will be because of LeBron. This is now the third straight year LeBron has reached the finals, and fourth time in his career, and there’s little reason to believe he won’t put up similar numbers to last year. He’s the best player in the world, and he’s a different player from 2007 when the Spurs embarrassed him. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if LeBron outdid his Finals performance from last year, and had a historically good finish to the season.

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Transfer Talk: June 10

Done Deals:

Radamel Falcao

falcao

Falcao has officially signed with recently promoted Ligue 1 side, Monaco. Falcao is one of the big money moves the club has already made this summer and the official transfer window hasn’t even started yet. Falcao will provide this new team a nice scoring touch and will make the club a contender for a possible Champions League qualification and Ligue 1 title. It will be interesting to see if Monaco will have the necessary chemistry to become a legitimate team. It may take time for the team to truly live up to its potential. That being said, with their wealthy Russian owner they will have all the necessary pieces to become a top club. We have seen this recently with PSG; money can buy success.  Falcao is considered by some to be a top 5 player in the world and he has a great opportunity to great an identity for himself with this new club.

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Top Ten Premier League Players 2012-13

10. Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard

Steven Gerrard is the heart and soul of Liverpool. While he may not be their leading goal scorer, Gerrard is commanding in the midfield and is arguably Liverpool’s most important player. The England international can do a little bit of everything and is a threat to score from distance because of his powerful shot. In league competition, he scored 9 goals and assisted 9 more. At the age of 33, it seems like he may be close to the end of his prime, but he can now also help to develop Liverpool’s future stars. Liverpool finished 7th in the Premier League this season, quite low for the famous club, and are looking to rebuild their club to finish in the top four to qualify for the Champions League. Recently acquired young players, like Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge, can learn from Gerrard as they begin promising careers at Liverpool. 

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