20 May 2008

Draft thoughts and conference finals picks

The Bulls came into the NBA draft lottery tonight with a 1.7% chance at the number one pick.

They left with that number one pick, moving ahead of nine other teams with a better chance than they for the shot at taking their choice of Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley.

The big losers tonight? Seattle, who had an excellent chance at the number one or two spot, falls to number three into a no-man's land. I like to think that's a bit of karma payback for new owner Clay Bennett stealing the franchise and moving it to Oklahoma City.

Sorry, Kevin.

Back to Chicago. I'm putting my tinfoil hat on and throwing a theory out there:

Stern rigged it for the Bulls.

We all know how giddy he is that the Lakers and Celtics are back among the elite teams in the NBA. It must pain him to see Chicago, winner of six NBA championships with Michael Jordan, be so terrible. He can't count on another horribly one-sided trade to resurrect the franchise, as he already got lucky twice in Los Angeles and Boston.

What better way to give the Bulls a major boost than a number one pick in the draft?


Glad to see Minnesota and Memphis drop. Anyone who intentionally sinks their franchise to benefit old friendships deserves to stay at the bottom.

On to the playoffs!

Like I said last night, I don't like anyone left. The NBA, it's faaaaaaantastic!

I see the Pistons beating the Celtics in six. Boston did nothing to impress me in rounds one and two. I like KG, but when even diehard Celtics homer Bill Simmons is questioning his heart and clutch-ness, it's a bad sign.

And in the West, we see another series I have large amounts of apathy for. I can't bring myself to root for either the Lakers or the Spurs, but as I discussed with my friend James last night, the Spurs are ruining the entire NBA, while the Lakers are not.

The combination of Kobe, Fisher, Odom and Gasol is formidable. That said, Duncan can handle the Spaniard down low and the Spurs' bench looks better than L.A.'s right now. Bowen can get in Kobe's head, and the Odom/Manu matchup will be interesting.

My head says the Spurs in seven.

Where does that leave us?

Another Spurs/Pistons NBA Finals. ABC execs are weeping into their Chardonnay right now.

Heaven help us all.

Oh, and if turns out I'm wrong (as usual), and we end up getting a Boston/L.A. Finals, you'll have a hard time convincing me there weren't any shenanigans to make it happen.


Matty Gibb said...

Anybody who watches hoop knows that there is only one team in the Western Conference that doesn't have some kind of inferiority complex when they play the Spurs: that would be the Lakers. That's because Kobe leads the team, and he knows that there's nothing magical about San Antonio. He's pounded them time and again in the playoffs, and Derek Fisher has done some pounding on them as well. Look for the Lakers to come out confident and win this series, avoiding the poor efforts that most other teams, especially the Jazz, put up against the Spurs. Nobody is picking LA, so when it happens I'll be the only one who says "I told you so."

Brandon said...

Lakers/Spurs playoff series since Duncan showed up in San Antonio:

1999: Spurs sweep Lakers.

2001: Lakers sweep Spurs.

2002: Lakers beat Spurs 4-1.

2003: Spurs beat Lakers 4-2.

2004: Lakers beat the Spurs 4-2.

So it's 3-2 in the past ten years.

Not exactly Kobe "pounding them time and time again."

And forgive me for not equating Pau Gasol with a young Shaq, a major component of those wins vs. the Spurs.

I just don't see it.

Matty Gibb said...

2001 playoffs, Lakers sweep Spurs. Kobe's lines:
game 1: 45 pts on 19-35, 10 reb, 3 ast.
game 2: 28 pts on 11-24, 7 reb, 6 ast.
game 3: 36 pts on 14-27, 9 reb, 8 ast.
game 4: 24 pts on 10-19, 2 reb, 11 ast.

Oh yeah, Kobe's been known to put a beatdown on the Spurs. That's time and again in ten days, let alone ten years. That series was when Kobe established himself as basketball's most skilled player. If you watched that series, you remember Kobe getting dunk after dunk on Duncan and Robinson.

And you know he's not afraid of them like most teams are, so the Lakers as a whole won't be rattled.

Matty Gibb said...

by the way, let's not forget the second-to-last game of this season when the Lakers beat down the Spurs again, 106-85, as only one Laker starter got minutes in the fourth quarter. Yes, Ginobili was out for the game, but you can bet the Spurs weren't planning on giving that game away.

Brandon said...

Season series vs. Spurs: 2-2.

And let's not forget San Antonio doesn't seem to care much about the regular season, as long as they get a decent seed in the playoffs.

The Spurs today are different from the Spurs of six weeks ago. Not to mention the Spurs and Lakers teams of SEVEN years ago are completely different.

I'd also like you to address the fact that Gasol is nowhere near the force today that Shaq was half a decade ago. That's the key here, IMO.

Matty Gibb said...

SA will be unable to run away and build leads because of its plodding offense. I'm not convinced that Pau is so overmatched by Duncan as everyone thinks he is. If they guard each other. And while Pau doesn't have the physical power of Shaq, he does have the competitive mindset and is a much better mid-range threat and FT shooter. He adds a lot of value.

Filbert Karo said...

Bynum could be as good as Shaq was, later on. He still has to get a little bit older and get a little more NBA experience under his belt. He still has a chance.

Brandon said...

We're going to have to agree to disagree, G.

Tonight will be a good indicator of how the rest of the series will go.

Though New Orleans looked pretty good after Games 1 and 2 in the semifinals, eh?

Matty Gibb said...

Yeah, and Phoenix looked pretty good after 1. I'd say four games from now we'll be able to say something about this series, probably not until then.