Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Looking Forward to the Lottery

The 2007 NBA Draft Lottery, just five hours away, will be, hands down, The Moment of the 2006-07 NBA Season. Seriously. After a regular season marred by blatant and widespread tanking, the atrocious Eastern Conference playoffs, which have been as entertaining as C-SPAN, the Western Conference playoffs peaking in Round 1 with the Warriors’ upset of the Mavericks, the Suns falling victim to the NBA’s rigid interpretation of a stupid rule and the JI-NORMOUS asterisk that will be placed next to the now-inevitable Spurs’ championship, the Lottery is the lone remaining dose of pure excitement that this season has to offer. Sure, the NBA has yet to crown a champion and the draft will, as always, be an intriguing night, but short of Kevin Durant being selected #1 overall (shocking) or one of the draft’s Big Two (Greg Oden and Durant) falling to the third pick (unconscionable), no moment from the remainder of playoffs or the night of June 28 will match the moment when 1) it’s revealed that a non-Bottom 3 team got a Top 3 picks and 2) the team with the #3 pick is revealed (and their representative gets the look of a man with a mouthful of lukewarm Jack Daniels), and two of the following storylines come to fruition:

- Everyone wins in Memphis: fans are rewarded with a young superstar and the Grizzlies’ likely return to the playoffs, current ownership sees a spike the team’s market value, prospective buyers get a reason to shell out big bucks for the team besides “hey, it’s an NBA team”.

- The Boston Celtics team an emerging SUPERstar with Paul Pierce, Al Jefferson, Rajon Rondo and Delonte West, return to NBA relevance.

- This time, the Milwaukee Bucks grab a legitimate stud at the top of the draft and are on track to return to the playoffs, dulling the pain that accompanies the realization that Andrew Bogut is, at best, a serviceable big man.

- The Atlanta Hawks draft someone taller than 6’7”! They still have no point guard, but it’s a step in the right direction.

- Supersonics draft Greg Oden/Kevin Durant and save professional basketball in Seattle!

- Get excited Portland! With their fourth top-10 pick in three years (NONE of them ex-cons!!!), the Portland Trailblazers are the NBA’s best young team!

- The Minnesota Timberwolves have two legitimate SUPERstars in the frontcourt and Randy Foye in the backcourt. Back away from the ledge, Mr. Garnett! Everything is going to be OK.

- Good news: The Charlotte Bobcats have the first SUPERstar in franchise history! Better news: Bob Johnson doesn’t have to pay him like one and Michael Jordan didn’t have to skip a couple of blackjack shoes to do any actual scouting!

- The Chicago Bulls’ roster is more loaded now that at any point during the Jordan era… Thanks Isiah! On the bright side, Eddy Curry did average a whole seven rebounds a game this year.

- Greg Oden/Kevin Durant rekindles Sacramento’s love affair with the Kings. Sadly, his family has forbid the young man from any social contact with a Maloof brother until age 21.

- With the contracts of “Trike DunMurphy” and the aging Jermaine O’Neal killing their cap, a lucky break saves the Indiana Pacers and prevents Larry Bird from being exposed as the Isiah Thomas of the Midwest.

- Out of habit, fans in Philadelphia boo the 76ers’ victory in the Lottery. Also out of habit, Billy King trades the top pick for two albatross contracts and a fringe NBA player.

- After Katrina forced a bottom-dwelling team to Oklahoma City, the Hornets return to New Orleans with Chris Paul, Oden/Durant and a living-up-to-his-potential Tyson Chandler. David Stern cancels every future trip to Oklahoma City due to a “cold”.

- The Los Angeles Clippers land their first legitimate SUPERstar since moving to L.A. and plan to team him with Elton Brand, Sam Cassell, Cuttino Mobely, and (hopefully!!!) Shaun Livingston. The excitement is contagious, as Los Angeles becomes a Clippers’ Town for 20 minutes before returning to fawning over the Lakers… or not giving a damn about anything.

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