Monday Morning Coffee

D'Angelo Russell Drafted

June 29th, 2015

Let’s start with the surprising events of the NBA draft.  Although it’s easy to say “let’s wait and see how the next three weeks turn out”, I can only judge the Lakers based on what transpired in the last few days.  Selecting D’Angelo Russell was a very risky pick.  An unnecessary risk that the franchise didn’t need to take.  He might be a superstar, as Mitch Kupchak and Byron Scott suggested, but he might also be a bust.  On the other hand, they could have selected Jahlil Okafor, who is probably one of the most skilled big men in the draft in the last 10 years.  Although there is some concern about his basketball IQ after hearing him willingly say he would like to play for the 76ers, LA still should have taken him.   There’s the notion that the Lakers could have two great guards now in Jordan Clarkson and Russell.  But imagine having a dominant front court with Okafor and Julius Randle for the next decade?  That’s an even more rare find.  Now, who is going to play center? It sure isn’t going to be Lamarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, or Marc Gasol.  As if that wasn’t frustrating enough, the Lakers had the chance to get arguably the best shooter in the draft at #27 in RJ Hunter, or UCLA’s talented Kevin Looney, and instead they took Larry Nance Jr, who they could easily have had in round 2.

Speaking of Nance Jr, How embarrassing was it when the Lakers didn’t do their due diligence on Nance, and found out he sent out some inappropriate tweets about Kobe from a few years back?  Don’t we all know that even in the NBA, like when applying for jobs, you are liable for posting stupid ass things on your social media? Of course Kobe downplayed the whole thing, and said Nance apologized, as did Bobby Portis after his dumb tweet about the Bulls a few years ago.  Still, I’m sure Nance will have a ton of fun guarding Kobe in practice during his rookie season.  NBA teams better start doing better due diligence on guys before they find out they tweeted non-sense like this….

Nance Tweet

Bobby Portis tweet

The Knicks are amazing.  They operate like a franchise being run by a kid playing 2K franchise mode after a night of binge drinking.  Whenever you feel really down about your team, just think…’s not as bad as Knicks fans have it…..

Then there’s the always exciting NBA free agency that awaits on Wednesday morning.  Although the Lakers have money, unless they can somehow find a way to pull off the Demarcus Cousins trade, there’s no way Lamarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, or any other big man of significance is signing with them.  Veteran free agents want to win immediately as well as make money.  Aldridge will get that when he signs with the Spurs, and Love will get that when he re-signs with the Cavs.  Say what you will about Cousins but he’s a proven all-star talent, and any team with him is in way better position to attract other star players than without him.  There’s about a 50-50 chance the Clippers can retain DeAndre Jordan.  For some reason he seems to be intrigued by the Mavs.  The Spurs will have to compete for Tim Duncan’s services with a couple of shuffleboard teams, 2 badminton teams, and a bingo hall.  I’m sure Lebron’s demands after opting out will include being paid the entire salary cap, having JR Smith executed, and having the team name changed to “The Lebron’s”.  I completely understand his desire to maximize his earnings by opting out, but the notion that he has leverage is silly.  No way he has the balls to leave Cleveland, no matter what happens.

Just when you think Pete Rose is getting a little bit closer to getting re-instated, or getting put into the Baseball Hall of Fame, something else comes out about him that damages his chances.  This time it was documents that revealed that he bet on baseball as a player, in addition to betting as a manager.            Ok, I get it. Gambling on the game, even if not against your own team, totally impacts the integrity of the game and the decisions that are being made as a player and a coach.  It’s wrong.  However, the man won three World Series titles, three batting titles, and an MVP.  He’s clearly a pathological liar, but his character is just as flawed as all the other steroid users and cheaters that have embodied the game of baseball for centuries.  As I have said with the steroid users, you can’t tell the story of baseball without Rose.  Heck, re-instate the man and leave it up to the individual ball clubs to decide if they should hire him.  Unfortunately, Pete just can’t seem to fully come clean, and it will probably never happen.

The Dodgers may have taken two of three from the Marlins over the weekend, but this team has been more unimpressive than the 2016 Republican party presidential candidates.  Zack Greinke got his first win in almost two months, and the Dodgers barely gave him any run support.  The defense was also a total let down in Clayton Kershaw’s start on Saturday night.  LA is struggling to score, and their pitching depth is highly questionable.  Hurry up and make some trades Andy Friedman, or else you’ll be getting punked in October when things matter.

As for the Angels, they won yesterday on the always exciting walk off wild pitch.  The Halos are staying within striking distance of the Astros, just 4 games back in the AL West.  I said they needed a spark to get them going, and they may have found it in Andrew Heaney.  He looked great in his first start against the Astros, and may push this team further up the standings if he’s as good as all those nerdy baseball experts say he is.  Now, if only somebody other than Mike Trout and Albert Pujols can hit the ball, the Angels might actually go somewhere.

Thanks to P Diddy for doing something stupid this week, and actually giving me something to write about in the dog days of summer.  Justin Combs, Diddy’s son, was apparently humiliated by UCLA Football Coach Sam Alosi in practice.  That caused P Diddy to approach Alosi after practice, and eventually attack him with a kettlebell, resulting in Diddy’s arrest.  Come on Diddy.  Everyone knows you never mess with the strength and conditioning coach.  Those are the guys that buy their “made in Bangladesh” polo shirts two sizes too small for them, and are sure to kick your ass.  This also seems like a great opportunity for UCLA to upgrade their athletic facility (which is badly needed) and sweep this whole thing under the rug with a nice big fat donation from Diddy.  How about $20 million for the “Diddy Practice Field”? I’m extremely disappointed in TMZ that they haven’t found a way to get a hold of the video either.

On to some puck where the Kings and Ducks are doing their best to try and manage the ever tightening salary cap with free agency about to get underway.  The Kings traded for Boston winger Milan Lucic on Friday, illustrating that they are clearly in “win-now” mode.  The Kings also said goodbye to Mike Richards, buying him out of his miserable contract.  That move should have been made last summer, but Kings GM Dean Lombardi was too loyal.  Lombardi obviously hasn’t watched Game of Thrones, otherwise he would know what loyalty gets you.   Richards went into “party mode” and never came out of it after helping the Kings win two cups.  You’ll probably find him drinking at the nearest Manhattan Beach bar, while Jarret Stoll is in the bathroom doing coke.

The Ducks are having struggles of their own trying to re-sign winger Matt Beleskey. They acquired speedy Carl Hagelin from the Rangers as a replacement.  Anaheim is in a slightly better salary cap situation, but for some reason they acquired another goaltender in the trade with Carolina.  I guess this puts them in excellent position to start a different goaltender in each playoff round before they are eliminated.

Gay marriage legalized.  Obama singing Amazing Grace.  Escaped murder killed by police.  I haven’t seen this much action in one day since 24!

Finally, months ago, I talked about what a foolish selection it was to pick Boston over LA to represent the U.S. in a bid for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.  Nobody in Boston wants the summer games.  The residents are annoyed as hell there has been no communication, and they know it’s going to cost a shit load.  The plan has been a disaster, and now the US Olympic Committe is increasingly considering abandoning the Boston plan and going back to LA.  Southern California is littered with existing modern infrastructure, more than equipped to handle the games, and potentially make it even profitable.  Not to mention the fact that we’ll likely have a brand new privately financed football stadium in the next five years, which can serve as an Olympic Stadium as well.  Bring the summer games back to LA.  It’s been a success before and will be a success again.

Boston No Olympics





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