What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

What We Learned: The 2015 NBA Draft

One of the problems universal to bloggers is that there’s a record of stuff you say.  That means when you whiff horribly on something, there’s always somebody out there to put knobs on it and shove it up your ass. I know there are some things I said in my plan to rebuild the Los Angeles Lakers which in the aftermath of the draft are just so much smoldering wreckage. Having said that, now that the draft is in the book, we can take a look at some things we know for sure.

1) ESPN clearly doesn’t understand the NBA

Yeah, I know…it’s irony on that “Alanis Morrisette” level to admit I blew my predictions and then call out the World Wide Bottom Feeder. But this morning, Mike Greenberg went off on a rant about how the Lakers taking a 6’3″ guard with the #2 overall pick over the classic 7-footer represented a revolution in the NBA; the narrative being this is now a guard-driven league.

That’s a load of crap.

Im calling bullshitFirst, I’ve got to point out where I was wrong.

I’ve got to say that because I was cataclysmally wrong on the whole Okafor/Russell thing.  But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

There are some people out there who say the Lakers might stun the world and take D’Angelo Russell from Ohio State, but that ain’t happening. The Lakers either trade that pick, or take which ever of the two coveted big men are left.  This is the area the Lakers will  address through free agency, and maybe not even this year.

For purposes of full disclosure, right after I published that, two game-changing events happened.

  1. The owner of the Sacramento Kings openly discussed firing his new head coach simply because George Karl wanted to trade DeMarcus Cousins
  2. Roy Hibbert opted in on his 1-year player option with the Pacers, at which point Indiana made it clear they are interested in trading him

In any event, it became clear that the Lakers believed it is easier to solve the problem of acquiring “bigs” through either the trade or free-agent markets.  That is a far cry from “you can’t win with bigs in the NBA anymore, so let’s draft a guard.”

I’ve got news for you. First of all, there were lots of people who coming down the stretch had moved D’Angelo Russell up to the #2 spot on their big boards ahead of Jahlil Okafor, including ESPN’s own Chad Ford. Second of all, there were even more people who believed that “big”or not, Russell was the best overall player on the board. Most importantly, the reason why nobody won with bigs this year is there are no dominant “bigs” on contention-worthy teams.

Think about it.  This league is full of talented big men. You are about to see me propose a trade by my Lakers to get Roy Hibbert.   DeAndre Jordan had a break-out year with the Clippers, but Los Angeles’ “other” team showed they aren’t ready to take the next step. DeMarcus Cousins is by far the best offensive “big” in the game right now, but the Kings are light-years away from being a factor in the west. Marc Gasol is a defensive force on a team which is offensively challenged. Joakim Noah is a key cog for a team which can’t stay healthy.  Dwight Howard plays when he wants to, and the suprisingly-effective Al Jefferson is getting old playing for the Hornets. Beyond that, there’s still guys like Brook Lopez and Andre Drummond.

But the big man who is going to destroy this argument is Anthony Davis. He’s going to win somewhere; somebody is going to put a team around the guy who will be the best player in the NBA in two or three years. Not to mention, there’s crop of interesting bigs coming along who will be in that same mold.

The bottom line is winning teams build on the talent they have.  If you’ve got a 7-footer who can dominate the floor, you’re going with that. If you have two guys who can shoot 50+% from the floor, that’s going to be your approach.

So, having said that, let;’s get back to the matter of the Lakers getting a “big.” There was talk of getting DeMarcus Cousins from the Kings, but supposing the Cousins deal is dead, the second “game-changing” event I mentioned gives Hibbert the inside track to Los Angeles.  Here’s why.

  1. Not only did the Pacers draft a center last night, they drafted a shot-blocking rim-protector in Myles Turner – the exact role Hibbert fills for Indiana
  2. Hibbert is going to get upwards of $16 million this year, and the Lakers are in a position to easily pay that
  3. Los Angeles has all kinds of money, and next year, they will have an incredible amount of money under the cap to re-sign Hibbert
  4. The trade to get this done is easy to pull off, I’ve outlined it before – Having said that, I’ve got another deal based on what happened last night to save my “Frank Kaminsky as a Laker” scenario
  5. Roy Hibbert has spent parts of the last two off-seasons working with Laker legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar learning how to play center

Is there another deal anywhere in the NBA that has five reasons as solid as that?

Now, let me get back to my Kaminsky-saving trade.  Yeah, I’ll admit I’ve got a man-crush on the guy, but this now is more about saving a player who could easily be a star in the NBA from a known graveyard of basketball careers. This deal fills the bill for everybody.  I’ve already outlined the Laker’s need for bigs, the Pacers need to shed salary, and the Hornets need young talent at discount prices. That why I think this trade needs to get done.

Los Angeles Lakers:

  • Sends Jeremy Lin and Robert Sacre to Indiana; Nick Young and Tarik Black to Charlotte
  • Gets Roy Hibbert from Indiana, and the rights to Frank Kaminsky from Charlotte

Indiana Pacers:

  • Sends Roy Hibbert to Los Angeles
  • Gets Jeremy Lin and Robert Sacre from Los Angeles; Cody Zeller from Charlotte

Charlotte Hornets:

  • Sends Cody Zeller to Indiana; the rights to Frank Kaminsky to Los Angeles
  • Gets Nick Young and Tarik Black from Los Angeles

2) Stephen A. Smith is completely out of his mind

Stephen A. Smith has a long history of being a race-baiting piece of shit.  He’s also a bona fide fan of the New York Knicks.  So, while I’m listening to Mike & Mike while I’m writing this blog, I’m seriously expecting a rant from him about the Knicks drafting of Kristaps Porzingis to be something so patently offensive the nation of Latvia would issue a death warrant for him.

Instead, he launches on the idea the Knicks could be a play-off contender right now if Phil Jackson wouldn’t be taking “his sweet time” to build a contender.  “It’s the Eastern Conference after all.”

Let’s all take a deep breath and let that sink in for a moment.

Does Smith realize the Knicks need several layers of improvement before they could be considered only a “train wreck?” The man is delusional.

He decried the Tyson Chandler trade. Chandler is a 7-footer nearing his expiration date; he’ll be 33 in October.

He moaned about the deal which sent Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith to Cleveland.  He out to be thankful they got what they did for them.  Shumpert is a role player at best, and we are about to find out how much J.R. smith devalued himself through the disappearing act he pulled in the NBA Finals.

Again, this isn’t about Porzingis; this is about Stephen A. Smith presuming to know more about what it takes to build a winning basketball team than a guy with 11 championship rings, one of which was the last one won by the goddamn Knicks. Smith want’s a play-off contender, and he’s right. You can do that in the Eastern Conference pretty easily; it only means being better that last year’s 40-42 Boston Celtics.

phil jackson as a knick

But a guy with 11 rings doesn’t build contenders; he build winners. That’s going to take longer for a host of reasons, not the least of which is despite the level of competition they might face, the Knicks as an organization are nowhere near ready to be winners. That’s why taking a player who may take a few years to develop isn’t such a bad idea. You need a culture that breeds winning before the winning actually happens.

3) Where in the world is Luke Ridnour?

Basketball isn’t the only sport I watch; it would be easier to name the sports I don’t watch. Baseball is my absolute favorite, and part of being a baseball fan is remembering the oddities brought to us with trades.  Baseball has seen guys traded from one team to the other in the middle of a double-header, and thanks to the infamous “player to be named later,” there have been guys who have actually been traded for themselves.  Matt Stairs played for 13 major league team, but as well traveled as he was, even he never got traded three times in one day.

Enter Luke “Carmen SanDiego” Ridnour.  The 6’2″ guard woke up Wednesday morning as a member of the Orlando Magic.  He had breakfast today as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.  In the meantime, he’s made stops in Memphis and Charlotte.

How does a guy like Ridnour end up on a route more roundabout than a stand-by flier on Southwest Airlines?

Luke’s long strange trip starts when the Grizzlies acquired Ridnour from the Magic on Wednesday for the rights to overseas forward Janis Timma.  There are people who were just changing planes who have been in Memphis longer than Luke, as the Grizz immediately dealt him to the Hornets for Matt Barnes.  Charlotte did pretty much the same thing when in matter of hours they shipped him out to Oklahoma City for Jeremy Lamb.

A strange as that seems, this isn’t the first time the NBA has tried to corner the market on frequent flier miles. Alonzo Gee went on a similar journey last year, and Quentin Richardson did the same in 2009.

This sort of trade-gasm is all about contracts and the NBA salary cap.  It works like this.  Because Ridnour’s contract is non-guaranteed for next season, he’s valuable on the trade market since that contract offers some flexibility under the salary cap.  A team that trades for him can unload some salary by cutting him since his contract is not guaranteed, thus creating more room under the salary cap.  The other option is exactly what the Magic, Grizzlies, and Hornets did;  acquiring him purely as an asset in order to “flip” him to a team looking to create salary cap space.

4) By the way, I now officially hate Knicks fans

I’ve never had a problem with fans of the New York Knicks until last night.

Crying Knicks Kid at Draft

This fucking kid finally finally pushed me over the edge.  I could tolerate the usual buffoonery from the likes of Spike Lee.  Stephen A. Smith’s bullshit didn’t even push me over the edge.  But this kid red-lined my “Fuck-you-o-meter.”

Don’t ever try to give me any shit like “he’s just a kid.” This little fucker knew exactly what he was doing.  First of all, if you watched this live, it was obvious this kid knew he was on camera.  You could see the guy next to him in the orange shirt mugging for the screens in the arena and pointing out that fact to the kid.  Second of all, how many people make it a point to fake-cry on television, then are narcissistic enough to take a fucking selfie doing it? 

Then, there’s the whole “fake-crying” thing.  This kid looks like he’s had plenty of success suckering his numb-nut parents into more than one Xbox game by pulling this kind of candy-ass shit. Worse yet, I’ll bet you money this kid never ever heard of Kristaps Porzingis.  I would say he couldn’t spell the guy’s name, but this kid looks like he might me one of those “spelling bee” types.  So after he graduates from MIT next year and makes millions off his own tech start-up by the time he can get a driver’s license, that is right about the time I hope Porzingis becomes an All-Star so somebody can dig all this all up to humiliate this smarmy little bastard.

About J-Dub

What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

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