MikeDropSports – Goodbye Orlando, Hello Brooklyn

MikeDropSports emails are back! So is the weekly Podcast. Last week, we made our big RETURN, getting caught up after a 204 day hiatus. On this week’s episode, we talk about the first week of the NBA Playoffs and NBA Draft Lottery results.

Minnesota Timberwolves won the draft lottery. A couple months ago, I pegged Minneapolis as the saddest sports city in North America.

Speaking of the NBA Draft, two months before the event takes place, I already know who each team is going to pick – check out the internet’s most accurate mock draft.

What’s next for Brooklyn Nets

On Sunday, the Nets’ season officially ended, as they were swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Raptors. No shame there, especially considering the circumstances – Nets were extremely impressive in the regular season bubble play and were more than short-handed.

Nets entered the bubble with a big three of Caris LaVert, Joe Harris, and Jarrett Allen. With the 2019-2020 season officially over, the Nets can begin preparations for next year, building around a dynamic big two of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Beyond that though, there are plenty of questions –

  • Joe Harris is a free agent and is uncertain to be back, depending on his salary demands.
  • Will LaVert or Spencer Dinwiddie be the #3/4 guys or will they be traded for a third All Star?
  • Will Deandre Jordan regain his starting role at center, despite the growth of Allen during the restart?

However, the biggest question pending for the Nets is who will be their head coach moving forward. There’s been wild rumors that they are pursuing Spurs coach Greg Popovich. That’s CRAZY right? Right? Is it?

Popovich is 71 years old and has been with the Spurs since 1996. He has led them to 5 NBA Championships (in 6 Finals appearances) and until 2020 had made the playoffs 22 consecutive seasons.

In 2020-21, Spurs will have to contend with 12 teams to simply make the playoffs in the West. The eight playoff teams from 2020, plus Warriors, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Suns will make life difficult for a team with a core of Demar Derozan and LaMarcus Aldridge. At 71 years old, with only a few years of coaching left, does Pop want qualifying as a 7-8 seed to be his final challenge?

Or would he prefer the challenge of leading a new team and competing for one last title? Let’s face it, the Nets have better odds of winning it all the next few years compared to the Spurs. While Spurs must compete with 12 teams to simply make the playoffs, Nets are one of 4-5 teams in the East that could realistically make the Finals.

Pros to Nets job – Durant and Kyrie are two of the best players in the world.

Cons to Nets – will Durant be what he was pre-injury? Kyrie is a bit of a head case. Is that really what Pop wants to deal with in his final years?

On the surface, it seems like an easy choice (Nets). But given his age and history with the Spurs and his reputation as one of the best coaches of all-time, does he really want to make a major move at this time? The decision is definitely tougher than it seems.

76ers Fire the Wrong Guy

Brett Brown was officially fired by the 76ers on Monday. GM Elton Brand should be fired too.

7 years ago, Philly embarked on a “process” that they asked fans to trust. The process involved tanking. They gutted a mediocre and expensive roster in an effort to add young, inexpensive talent to create flexibility in the future. 7 years later, Philly has a mediocre and expensive roster.

Following a first round sweep, Philly has zero flexibility moving forward. Tobias Harris and Al Horford eat up half the cap. Signing Horford never made sense. It was dumb last July and it’s even dumber today. If they could only have signed one of their big trade acquisitions, it should have been Jimmy Butler over Tobias Harris. They let JJ Redick walk, when they are desperate for shooters.

The process was a great idea when former GM Sam Hinkie began the execution. However, along the way they made too many mistakes. Sure, they drafted Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. But they also drafted Markelle Fultz, when they could have stayed at #3 and picked Jayson Tatum or De’Aaron Fox. They traded Fultz of a disastrous year and a half, and received 15 games of nothing (Jonathon Simmons) for their trouble. They drafted Mikal Bridges, only to trade him minutes later for 26 games of Zhaire Smith.

To be clear – Elton Brand did not make all of these decisions. But he hasn’t done a good job of cleaning up previous messes and building a sustainable championship-caliber roster.

Firing Brown is fine, but no coach is going to be able to win with this roster until significant changes are made.

I feel bad for Brett Brown. His career win/loss record is terrible (39%) because he oversaw the process years, in which the Sixers team won less than 20 games for three straight seasons. He dealt with a roster built to lose, constant roster turnover, injuries, and I don’t believe ever had a fair chance. Of course, he has his flaws as a coach and those are ultimately what may have cost him his job. But I won’t be surprised to see someone else hire him in the future.

“Swipe the Fox” Swipes the Knicks

During the NBA Draft Lottery last Thursday, Kings PG De’Aaron Fox took a shot at the Knicks on twitter.

It’s fine. It’s cool. Everyone takes their shots at the Knicks. Knicks suck. Why shouldn’t everyone take their shots. But coming from a player on the Kings is quite ironic.

Knicks’ playoff drought is 7 years. Kings’ playoff drought is 14 years. Knicks have won 2 championships (in the ’70s) and have 2 Finals appearances in the last 26 years. Kings have zero Finals appearances since moving to Sacramento in 1985.

What makes this ironic is the true misery of the Kings’ drafting. (# in parenthesis represents where in the draft player was chosen).

  • 2009 – Tyreke Evans (4) over Steph Curry (7)
  • 2011 – traded out of 7, moved back to 10 and took Jimmer Fredette. Moving out of 7 cost them Kemba Walker (9) and took Jimmer over Klay Thompson (11) and Kawhi Leonard (15).
  • 2012 – Thomas Robinson (5) over Damian Lillard (6), Harrison Barnes (7), Terrence Ross (8), Andre Drummond (9)
  • 2013 – Ben McLemore (7) over CJ McCollum (10) and Giannis (15 – though everyone in lottery passed on him)
  • 2014 – Nik Stauskas. Traded away in summer 2015 as an asset WITH two future first round picks to shed the contracts of Jason Thompson and Carl Landry (whom the Kings signed to dumb deals) to 76ers for…cap space. 
  • 2015 – Willie Cauley-Stein (6) over Justice Winslow (10), Myles Turner (11), Devin Booker (13). Note – can’t criticize the Knicks here, at least they drafted Kristaps Porzingis.
  • 2016 – Georgios Papagiannis (13)…WHO??? Yikes.
  • 2017 – De’Aaron Fox (5). Because of the aforementioned Stauskas trade, Kings and Sixers swapped picks, with Philly moving from 5 to 3. They ultimately traded the pick, and Jayson Tatum was picked 3rd.
  • 2019 – Romeo Langford (14) was drafted by Celtics with the other pick from the Stauskas trade.

Then, finally….

2018 – MARVIN BAGLEY (2) OVER LUKA DONCIC (3). By the way, I’d rather have Jaren Jackson Jr (4) or Trae Young (5) over Bagley too. Obviously Doncic is the star, but this pick was bad for so many reasons.

But keep talking De’Aaron Fox. Enjoy missing the playoffs for as long as your on the Kings.

College Football AP Poll Released

Top 25 rankings were released on Monday. Good news for Ohio State – they are ranked #2! Bad news for Ohio State – they aren’t playing football this fall.

Can someone explain why in the world writers included 9 total Big Ten and PAC-12 schools when they 100% aren’t playing football? What’s the point? What does this accomplish?

Meanwhile, Buckeyes fans continue to flip out as Cincinnati moves ahead with plans for it’s 2020 season. It’s crazy! Apparently you can’t get COVID in Cincinnati, but you can in Columbus and several MAC cities throughout Ohio.

Ohio’s #1 football team for 2020 begins the season ranked 20th, behind 7 teams that aren’t playing this fall.

Unwritten Rules

The story about Fernando Tatis Jr and hitting a grand slam on a 3-0 pitch in a blowout is the dumbest story ever. What is this thing with “unwritten rules”?

First of all, rules are meant to be broken. Second, if rules aren’t written they aren’t rules. Swing away, Tatis! Swing away.

I just can’t believe the Padres manager called him out and Tatis had to apologize. Tatis APOLOGIZED FOR DOING HIS JOB! Padres manager called him out for DOING HIS JOB!

Padres have a 13 year playoff drought. Not scoring runs is definitely not the best approach to ending that streak.

Fun with Numbers

Lakers led the Blazers 24-8 on 8/24…

Sunday would have been Kobe Bryant’s 42nd birthday. In his final career playoff game, Kobe scored 42 points (game 5 vs Thunder, second round, on May 21, 2012).

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Mike is an alum of the University of Cincinnati and the ultimate sports nerd.

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