Okay, my last entry was a bit off. Mayo's going pro. If they would've had any kind of influential tourney run (basically, anything aside from a first-round loss to an eleven-seed), O.J. would still be a Trojan, I think. But it's a moot point, as they don't teach jump shooting in So Cal.
Mayo's stock did rise in the last month (from a projected seven to about four or five), and the NBA lottery order is less than six weeks away. It's really a shame, because I've been keeping myself busy with the mock draft generator offered by a competing sports website that starts with an "E" and ends with an "SPN.com", and I can't wait to find out how the Timberwolves are going to be corn-holed THIS year.
Ever since Ewing in 1985, there just seems to be a certain mystique to the NBA lottery..and by mystique, I mean David Stern conspiracy. And, yes, most of my opinion has to do with the Wolves not getting the first pick in 1992, when they had the worst record and Shaq was the grand prize. Instead, the Big Barishnikov goes to a sunny, marketable basketball locale and we end up with a guy who had more headbands than double-doubles.
But before I go too "woe is me" on the Timberwolves' draft luck, or lack thereof, let me play out a "could be worse" scenario: The Los Angeles Clippers. And, yes, I know it's easy to beat up the slow kid, but I'm going to do it anyway, because it makes me feel like a big man.
Maybe it's Sternconspiracy, maybe it's poor management, maybe it's just shitty luck, but the Clippers' lottery selections are amongst the terrible-est of all time...even terrible-er than me English. I choose to blame Stern. I find it absolutely and utterly inconcievable (name THAT movie) that, in a world with a law of averages, the Clippers' front office and karma could be THAT incompetent THAT long. Wouldn't the fan base be outraged?
You know...um...all eight of them?
Here are the Clippers lottery picks, since all the way back in 1985:
Benoit Benjamin, Creighton -- "Derrick Coleman" before Derrick Coleman was "Derrick Coleman." Pretty much ate himself out of the league. Didn't really seem to care, either. Benoit sort of walked...nay, waddled...around the court with an apathetic, post-concussion look on his face.
Reggie Williams, Georgetown -- Most famous for going to high school with Muggsy Bogues and Reggie Lewis at Baltimore Dunbar. The trivia answer to, "what other guy played in the NBA and went to high school with Reggie Lewis and Muggsy Bogues?"
Danny Manning, Kansas -- Came off of a great collegiate career as the first overall pick, and promptly blew out his ACL 26 games into his rookie year. Would have been a solid number sixth man for most squads...and was really the only semi-threat the Clips had for the four-plus years he was there. Won more post-season games this year as an assistant for the Jayhawks than he did in total for L.A.
Hersey Hawkins, Bradley -- He actually had a nice NBA career, scoring over 14,000 points and missing a mere seven games in his first 11 years. He, of course, never played for the Clippers, as he was traded post-draft for Charles Smith, who was most recognized for his Will Smith-esque flat top, and being the softest big man this side of Brad Daugherty (6'10" and never more than seven boards a game average).
Danny Ferry, Duke -- Would the phrase "Danny Ferry thought the Clippers were so bad, that he went and played in ITALY for a year before being traded an embarking on a seven-point-per-game NBA career" be considered the exact opposite of "successful franchise"?
Bo Kimble, Loyola Marymount -- Scored more points in his sophomore season of college than he did his entire NBA career. The most notable thing he did as a pro was brick a left-handed free throw in honor of Hank Gathers.
Lamond Murray, California -- is there anything more frustrating than a guy with a little bit of size (6'7") who absolutely REFUSES to play closer than, say, 17 feet from the rim? The answer is, "yes, a player who only shoots 43% from the field, and 36% on three-pointers".
Antonio McDyess, Alabama -- Another nice NBA career, though injury-hampered, and yet another All-Star that never actually dressed for the Clippers. McDyess was traded to the Nuggets for Rodney Rogers' corpse and a draft pick that turned into Brent Barry. But, hey, at least LAC is the only NBA team with a white Slam Dunk Contest winner!
Lorenzen Wright, Memphis -- Big men with injury problems and poor work ethics probably should be avoided. Nothing like a 6'11" guy that can't average a block per game. In his defense, Wright's middle name is "Vern-Gagne". I'm not kidding; look it up.
Michael Olowokandi, Pacific -- The first REAL argument for "don't draft a tall guy with a lottery pick just because he's tall. Make sure he's played good basketball at a legitimate Division I program and won't get tasered by police at Twin Cities clubs after he's been widely acknowledged as the worst first pick in NBA history."
Lamar Odom, Rhode Island -- Probably the best player the Clippers have ever drafted, but he is a Danny Manning clone in that (as we're seeing now on the Lakers) Odom is MUCH better when he's not a primary option. He is also a Danny Manning clone in that he couldn't seem to ever stay healthy -- with the Clippers. He's much healthier now.
Keyon Dooling, Missouri -- I don't actually know anything about Keyon Dooling. I think he's on the Magic now. Does he play?...(looking up stats)...yeah, a tenth overall pick should probably be better than the eigth-best player on the fourth-best team in the second-best conference. And he's averaging twice as many points now than he did with L.A. -- and it's still not in double-figures.
Darius Miles, high school -- Just for the record, I might need to take Welbutrin just to make it through this analysis. Lessons the Clips SHOULD'VE learned: (1) you can't win in the NBA with 18-year-olds. The only teams that win with 18-year-olds are the good teams that sign the 18-year-olds when they turn 22. (2) Only Kevin Garnett is going to be Kevin Garnett. (3) When a player is excited to be drafted by Los Angeles because it will (and I'm paraphrasing) 'give him great exposure', and not on the basketball court, that's not a good sign. Wasn't he in a movie? Hopefully, it was only a quarter as atrocious as his career.
Tyson Chandler, high school -- Again, Chandler is unspectacularly solid now that he's been in the Association for eight years, isn't playing outside of his abilities, and is on his third team (a la Odom). The obvious comparison is to Ben Wallace. Ben Wallace wasn't drafted; Chandler was the second pick...and Michael Jordan thought that Kwame Brown had more upside than he did. I think the summation is you never want to draft a guy at number two who doesn't try to "play outside his abilities".
Chris Wilcox, Maryland -- Never averaged more than eight points and five boards for LAC. Hasn't averaged LESS than 13.5 / 7.7 since showing up in Seattle. You ever get the feeling wearing Clipper red and blue sucks out your willingness to try?
Shaun Livingston, high school -- I guess an argument can't be made for his mediocrity, primarily because he's never stayed healthy enough to formulate an opinion. He's MISSED 37 more NBA games than he's made, and hasn't suited up since February of 2007. Being the next Magic Johnson doesn't do you any good when you're knees make you the next Bill Walton.
Yaroslav Korolev, somewhere in the USSR -- I was sort of kidding before when I said I didn't know who Keyon Dooling was...sort of...but I honestly didn't think Korolev had ever played and NBA game. As it turns out, he played in 34 of them, then went home. What do the Clippers have to show for this former 12th overall pick? A pretty damn good triple-double (39-16-10)...as cumulative CAREER statistics.
I won't go into ragging on Al Thornton, because he's having an alright rookie season. And, 75 games into his NBA career, he's done something a select few have done: had a double-digit turnover game. I suppose we can just blame it on the jersey.
So there's your (over)analysis of a (currently) 23-win team. If they've made a good decision in the past years, it was to trade WITH the Timberwolves a few years ago. Presuming the Wolves don't fall out of top-10 protection this year, Los Angeles has Minnesota's 2009 first-rounder to complete the ebola-for-anthrax trade known as Cassell-for-Jaric. Maybe the Clippers will pass (more) ineptitude to the Wolfies, just like that one Denzel movie, where evil could get passed from person-to-person just by touch).
Or maybe the Clippers will just continue to be the Clippers and draft someone as crappy and forgettable as that movie.
By the way, the current mock draft has the Clippers getting Anthony Randolph at six, a wiry-yet-unproven LSU product who reminds some people of Kevin Garnett...
And the circle of life continues...