I believe Orlando Magic fans have three days they really look forward to and none of them involve the NBA Playoffs. A Magic fan has opening night, the NBA Draft and the NBA Draft Lottery circled on the calendar. Opening night brings hope of a new season and expectations cost nothing. The NBA Draft is a night to believe your team got it right and has its next superstar and there is the Draft Lottery.
The Draft Lottery is a made-for-tv event that takes place on a night when there is a big NBA Playoff game. This year the Lottery will be held right before game one of the eastern conference finals with the Celtics and Heat. It's the NBA's reminder to the teams who had bad seasons how far they are from that point in the NBA Playoffs.
The Magic make their annual appearance in the Lottery Tuesday night and once again there is hope this is the year the Magic will land their next superstar. But once again the Magic find themselves with a likely situation where there is no "can't miss" top pick but instead a group of players who project to be nice players but there is no Shaq or LeBron in this class, at least at this point of their careers.
The Magic, Rockets and Pistons all have a 14% chance of getting the top pick. The Magic have a 13.4% chance to get the second pick, 12.7% chance to get the third pick, 12% chance to get the fourth pick, 27.8% chance to get the fifth pick and 20% chance to get the sixth pick. Can you imagine the Magic losing 60 games and end up picking sixth?
The names of Jabari Smith(Auburn), Chet Holmgren(Gonzaga) and Duke's Paolo Banchero(or Patrick Mahomes from the Miami Grand Prix are considered the top three players. Purdue's Jaden Ivy and Iowa's Keegan Murray would round out most top five lists.
One could make a case how all would help the Magic, but no one knows how any of these players will adapt to the NBA game. The Magic look to have found a solid player in Franz Wagner last year but the jury is still out on Jalen Suggs, the higher of the two picks, who had an up and down year battling injuries and just had surgery to fix an ankle.
If good health was something you can select in a draft, the Magic should grab it without a thought. Injuries have slowed the process of building this roster and there remains unknowns about the health of Jonathan Isaac and Markelle Fultz.
I used to love the NBA Draft Lottery, but now it serves as a reminder of how bad the Magic and Knicks have been and it just mocks me with false hope. I don't even like the process and wish the league would truly study a different process. I can't stand the tanking or whatever you want to call it. I think it's a disservice to fans and the Magic fanbase has been asked too many times to be patient and forced to root for false hope. But if your team is not attracting free agents, the draft remains a key part of adding talented pieces. But there is no science to the draft. So many factors come into play in determining who you draft will become a star.
Festivus is the airing of grievances and I just had a festivus of my own on the NBA Draft Lottery...
In a recent interview with the SEC Network's Paul FInebaum, Alabama's Nick Saban said the following regarding parity in college football:
“One of the things I’d like to see us be able to work back to is everything in college football has always had parity: same scholarships, same academic support, healthcare, whatever it is. I don’t think we have that balance right now which could affect the parity of college football and athletics as a whole.”
Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin responded on twitter with this nugget:
“Paul, did you tell (the goat) what that word means????” “Parity = ‘The state or condition of being equal, especially regarding status or pay.’”
I think Nick Saban is the greatest coach in the history of the sport. But I also think Nick Saban is very smart and knows what to say as opposed to what he really wants. Saban knows there is no parity in college football and he knows he doesn't want parity in college football. He has built advantages that he knows very few coaches and programs can match and why would he want to change that?
If Saban wants parity he can go to the NFL, but Nick is smart. Now, Saban has built the advantages Alabama owns. But few match the football budget, size of staff, facilities and recruiting advantages Alabama has and a part of why his team competes for a national title every year.
What Saban should have said is whatever he does at Alabama can be done by everyone but few do and what's why they are so good...
Nuggets: Jayson Tatum is a superstar. Boston was 18-21 after an early January loss to the Knicks and looked like a confused team. They went 33-10 the rest of the way and played some of the best defense the league has seen in years. First year coach Ime Udoka never wavered in his style of emphasizing defense to set up their offense and along the way Tatum blossomed and now is part of the conversation for best players in the NBA. The Celtics now are in the conference finals for the seventh time in the last 15 seasons...Chris Paul sees another season end without a title and has to wonder if one will ever come...Still not sure Doc Rivers is back in Philly despite Daryl Morey saying he will be back...The Reds threw a no-hitter and lost. Let that sink in...NBC appears to not want Drew Brees in the broadcast booth or their studio show and Brees then tweets about maybe coming back to play. Maybe he can become a co-owner of the Dolphins since it appears Tom Brady has plans...NHL overtime playoff hockey has no equal...I remember when CNN's Headline News gave you news at the top of the hour and Van Earl Wright gave me sports a couple times an hour. They mixed in some business and entertainment news and you can always count on those features every half hour. Have you looked at some of the stuff that airs on that channel lately? Here are some of the shows: "Sex and Murder", "Very Scary People", "How it Really Happened"( a show about famous murder cases) and "Forensic Files". Anyone else see a pattern here? Where is Van Earl Wright telling me the Yankees beat the A's at 2:30 in the morning?
Final note: Walter Diemer invented bubble gum in the early 1900's. Diemer was an accountant at Fleer and called the new gum "Dubble Bubble". Despite invented the product, Diemer did not receive any royalties.