Lottery Night Robbery

Ahhhhhh nothing like another night of Knicks disappointment. Very cool.

 

I’ll never stop loving my Knicks, but God is it hard. Like I previously alluded to in my preview blog, I don’t blame the Knicks for not getting the first pick. We put ourselves in the best position possible to get the top pick, and the NBA slapped us in the face again. Sure, Dolan probably could’ve offered a little more money than Pelican’s owner Gayle Benson, but I accept that the draft was out of our hands.

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Knicks Legend Tracy McGrady. I Googled Knicks images that were labeled for reuse and this was a top result. I guess we’re throwing him on this blog. I miss Latino Night jerseys.

What a blunder by the NBA, though. Memphis and New Orleans are the two least valuable franchises in the league and now we all have to pretend like Anthony Davis and Zion are going to be this monstrous combo. Boogie Cousins couldn’t take the small market, and I doubt Zion and his agent are happy about it either. I cannot wait for KD and the boys to steamroll them in MSG next year.

 

Can we also address Rachel Nichols’ obsession with Zion? Throughout the Lottery, she literally wouldn’t stop talking about him. The poor guy was just sitting there listening to her rant about how he’s going to be the first pick and how special he’s going to be. I very rarely feel bad for players that aren’t Knicks or Ron Baker, but I felt for Zion tonight. You get hit on by Rachel Nichols and then get drafted by the Pelicans all within a matter of minutes. Life comes at you pretty fast, huh.

 

So now the Knicks are gonna take whoever’s available between Ja Morant and RJ Barrett. Those guys could actually become something pretty special in the league, so it’s hard to mess this pick up. Just select whichever one is available and DO NOT pick anyone outside of those two.

 

Long story short: the Knicks got robbed again. I knew we should’ve had Bargnani represent us at the lottery.

The Draft Lottery was a Worst Case Scenario

I’m gonna be blunt about this, the NBA Draft Lottery could not have gone much worse tonight, for fans or for the league itself. Let’s start with the fans. Normally I would kill to witness RennyVegas as he watches his teams fade to nothing, but tonight was even painful for me. We all wanted to see Zion go to a big market team where he’s going to get the most exposure and coverage possible while electrifying the largest crowd he can. Instead, he’ll be playing in front of a half full stadium in New Orleans. Only good thing about this is that now maybe Anthony Davis will stay in New Orleans and we can watch them become the best front court in the league. But seriously, the last thing I want is to see Zion go somewhere irrelevant and not develop into the start that he could be. New Orleans isn’t an organization meant to handle superstars. Boogie wanted out. Davis wants out. It’s inevitable, Zion will want out. Almost any other team in the lottery and Zion would have had an interesting storyline to go with it, but instead we have a team that maybe seven people outside of the state of Louisiana care about. I’d want to see Zion play for the Mad Ants (shoutout to my 2K guys out there) than the Pelicans. I’d buy a Zion jersey if he went to the Knicks. I’d do it if he went to the Lakers, Cavs, Mavs, pretty much anywhere else. But, God, why did it have to be the Pelicans?

 

As much as this sucks for the fans, the league can’t be happy about it either. I’m guaranteeing they’re wishing they had rigged that lottery right now. From a monetary standpoint, the markets don’t get much smaller. Like I said earlier, nobody wants to buy a Pelicans jersey. I know like four guys from New Orleans and maybe one would give half of a rat’s ass about how the Pelicans are doing. I know, it’s ZION WILLIAMSON, but this is one of the only franchises where this pick just won’t bring in much money. This also sends the rest of the draft into absolute chaos. The Grizzlies don’t really need a point guard in Ja Morant, so it’s likely that they take R.J. Barrett at number 2. But this leaves the Knicks with a tough choice, as they don’t necessarily need a point guard either. All reasonable draft projections, down the drain. This is the first time I’ve ever wished that a professional sports organization was rigged. My heart hurts for Zion, for the league, even for the Pelicans, because we all know they’re still going to suck. At this point, the only hope I have is that the Pelicans make one of the dumbest moves of all time and pass on Zion. But hey, this is the Pelicans, so am I really wrong in believing in that?

Locks – 5/14

Welcome to Locks. In this blog series, I will provide insight into several sporting lines taking place each day. Each pick will be accompanied by a brief analysis explaining my selection as well as my confidence in the given pick (i.e. 1 means not confident, 5 means moderately confident, 10 means extremely confident). Let’s get to it…

Headliner:

9:00 EST

Trail Blazers v Warriors (-7.5) (confidence level: 6)

O/U 220.5 (confidence level: 6)

Portland finally broke home court in Game 7 against the Nuggets, with a groundbreaking 100-96 victory. The Nuggets hoisted the best regular season home record (34-7), and they hadn’t lost at home since Game 1 against the Spurs. I certainly believe that the Blazers have the potential keep the game close in Oakland. However, they are coming off only a single day’s rest, and even though the Warriors lack KD, Boogie, and have a eerily thin bench, they haven’t lost a Game 1 since the 2016 Western Conference Finals against the Thunder. Since 2016, the Warriors have an average margin of victory of 13.3 points in all game ones. A significant contributor to the Warriors long-standing prominence is that they understand the importance of gaining a lead. Additionally, while the Blazers are exceptional in close game situations, when they lose, they lose by large margins, adding to overall appeal of the Warriors line tonight.

For the o/u, the Blazers score substantially fewer points while on the road. It wouldn’t be particularly surprising to see the Blazers finish in the double digits tonight. For the Warriors, missing Durant will drive their offensive efficiency down. Unless both Lillard and McCollum are wildly efficient tonight, I don’t see the the point total eclipsing 220 points.

MLB Locks:

Phillies – Win (confidence level: 8)

Jerad Eickoff has the start tonight for the Phillies, who has allowed only 6 hits and 1 earned run in his last 13 innings of work. Eickoff hasn’t given up a home run all year, and the Brewers (4th in the league in home runs this year) generate runs through big at bats. Brandon Woodruff takes the mound for the Brewers, who admittedly has been good as of late, but so have the Phillies’ bats. Expect the Phillies to get it done tonight, taking the second game of this four-game series.

Diamondbacks -1.5 (confidence level: 7)

The Dbacks have won all 5 meetings against the Pirates this year, and they are well-equipped to win the sixth with Luke Weaver on the mound tonight. Weaver boasts a 2.98 ERA this year, and has been dominant in his past 2 starts. Joe Musgrove, the Pirates’ starter tonight, was especially poor in his last outing, and he struggled against the Dbacks in their game on April 22nd in a 12-4 loss. With Weaver on the mound, look for Arizona to continue their dominance over Pittsburgh this year.

Dodgers/Padres u/ 7.0 (confidence level: 8)

With Chris Paddack and Clayton Kershaw as the starters, this game has the making of being very low-scoring. Despite the Dodgers potent offense, Paddack has been phenomenal thus far, allowing no more than 3 earned runs in any start this year. In his past 20 innings of work, he has only allowed 2 earned runs. In Paddack’s seven starts this year, only one of those 7 games has gone for a total of more than seven runs. Kershaw, who has been a bit below his standards this year, should look to have a solid outing against a San Diego offense this has been mediocre at best in the opening 6 weeks of this MLB season.

 

 

 

 

 

Knicks Lottery Thoughts

I’m not going to jinx the Knicks and make this blog about what we’re going to do with the first pick. This could be the single greatest Knicks moment I’ve ever been alive for, and I won’t have it compromised by this blog. That being said, we have a legitimate shot at #1. If we don’t get the top pick, which I’ve accepted as likely considering we are the New York Knicks, all hell will break loose. The Knicks have brought so much frustration to my life, and not getting the first pick would really make RennyVegas mad. But here’s the thing that drives me crazy: the lottery is out of the Knicks’ control. I can’t really be mad at Scott Perry or Steve Mills if we don’t get the first pick. It’s literally in the hands of a few balls circling around some makeshift Bingo thing.

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I love how the league has made the lottery must watch TV. You have a bunch of former NBA players, executives, owners, and Dan Gilbert’s son stand behind a podium while the assistant-to-the-commissioner Mark Tatum reads off team names. I’ll criticize it all I want but I don’t think I’ll be more locked into a TV program since the first time I watched Curb Your Enthusiasm.

 

Let’s be real: giving the Knicks the first pick in the draft is great for the league. You put the most exciting player on the most valuable franchise in the Mecca of basketball. How great for the NBA would that be? It’s so great for the NBA they should rig it. There, I said it. I don’t know how you pull it off, maybe freeze our ball or something, but it would be in all of our best interests if we got the first pick.

 

PS: If we do get the first pick, please don’t trade it for AD.

 

Hot Take Central: Warriors vs. Trailblazers Game 1

Let’s be honest, the Blazers have a slim chance at best to upset the Warriors and move on to the NBA Finals. But, it’s always fun to look at just what could happen if things start to bounce the Blazers’ way in the Western Conference Finals. Here are my bold predictions for Game 1:

Seth Curry out-performs Steph

Key word here is out-perform, not out-score. Steph will inevitably have more points than his younger brother tonight, as he will have many more minutes and opportunities, especially with the loss of Durant. However, Playoff Steph is nowhere near the caliber of Steph in the regular season, and I expect his shooting struggles from the previous series to carry over into tonight. Expect Seth Curry to come off of the bench for Portland and knock down a few from behind the arc, opening up the Portland offense if they move CJ to the 3-spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if Seth plays at a much more efficient rate than Steph and scores 15-18 points off the bench, giving Portland the spark they need to pull off a Game 1 upset on the road.

McCollum’s Hot Streak Continues

C.J. McCollum is coming off the game of his life after helping lift Portland over Denver in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals. Don’t be surprised if he continues that tear tonight. I expect McCollum to start off a bit slow due to Klay Thompson’s fantastic perimeter defense, but after getting a few shots to fall, I can see C.J. going for 35+ points tonight.

Kevon Looney Struggles on Both Ends of the Floor

Looney has been terrific this postseason after stepping in to fill the spot of the injured Demarcus Cousins. He’s gotten the bulk of the minutes as the Warrior’s big man, and I expect that role to continue tonight, even if Bogut gets the start. However, at only 6’9, Looney is extremely small for the center position in the NBA. On the other end of the floor, Enes Kanter hasn’t been anything special this postseason, but he hasn’t been bad either. Standing at 6’11, I can see Kanter abusing Looney inside, forcing the Golden State defense to close in and opening up more opportunities for Portland’s lethal outside shooters.

Andre Iguodala Plays Like His Old Self

People often overlook that Iguodala used to be a star during his days in Philadelphia, and if Golden State wants to win he needs to bring a bit of that back tonight. Nobody can fill the shoes of Kevin Durant completely, but Iguodala did a pretty good job in Game 6 against the Rockets. He went 6-11 from the field and 5-8 from behind the arc, adding a crucial 17 points to the Warriors. If he can play like that again tonight, and I think there’s a decent change that he will, then I don’t see the Warriors dropping Game 1.

So Who Wins Game 1?

I know most of my hot takes for tonight seem to benefit the Blazers, but it’s tough to see them leaving Oracle up 1-0 in the series. Like most nights, the Blazers are going to rely too heavily on Lillard and McCollum to provide all of the scoring, allowing the Warriors to capitalize when they go cold and go on a big run. I’ve got the Warriors taking Game 1 behind a big performance from Klay Thompson, winning 113-98.

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