Reckless Speculation: NBA Edition
Back in March, I was steamed that the third ranked team in college hockey had to play an Away game in the first round of the Frozen Four. Minnesota State went on to lose and nary a word of controversy was uttered on the local or on the national stage. No one cared, it was college hockey. Despite the obvious screw job, no segment on PTI, no rage from Colin Coward, er Cowherd, no riffs from Stephan A Smith. Nothing.
I could continue on in this vein, but you, the reader, are already done reading about college hockey....
The Tampa Bay Lightning had the best record in the NHL this year, tied a record for the most-ever wins (62) in an NHL season, and entered the playoffs as the favorites to win the Stanley Cup.- USA Today. Despite tying that regular season record, the Tampa Bay Lightning ran into a buzz saw in the first round of the NHL playoffs and were swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets. Unless you were a Tampa Bay resident, no one cared, the story was just a blip on the national news radar.
I could continue on in this vein, but you, the reader, are already done reading about regular season NHL hockey....
The great Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins broke his jaw on Monday Night. He was ready to move heaven and earth to get back onto the ice in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. (The Blues ended up winning.) With the series tied at 2-2, the Bruins need Chara. With drama both on and off of the ice, the fourth game of the Stanley Cup Finals on NBC adjusted to (a) 1.5 from 1.4 (rating), but this was not quite enough for it to overtake “The Bachelorette,” which still held an advantage of 0.38 million viewers. - By the Numbers The final viewership was 5.1 million viewers.
I could continue on in this vein, but you, the reader, are already done reading about Stanley Cup hockey....
For the week of May 27-June 2, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships:
1. NBA Finals Game 2: Golden State at Toronto, ABC, 13.89 million
2. NBA Finals Game 1: Golden State at Toronto, ABC, 13.38 million
3. NBA Finals Post-Game” (Sunday), ABC, 9.89 million.....
And, just a reminder, those are AMERICAN numbers, meaning that the numbers don't include Toronto, or any, Canadian households. Some people don't care who wins the NBA Finals. They want the drama of Kawhi Leonard & Kevin Durant.
The NBA is a fairly easy sport to predict. You get the best players, you almost always have the best team....
You see the bracket above for the 2019 NBA playoffs? I went to NBA.com and entered to see if I could win cash and prizes by predicting the results of the playoffs. Somehow, someway, despite me being pissed at the NBA, I found myself in the top 2% of contestants. Am I a soothsayer? No. I picked chalk almost the whole way through, then chose Toronto over Milwaukee in the Eastern Finals. I'm convinced that part of the popularity of the NBA has as much to do with the soap opera of who will have the best team NEXT year.
So let's make some more predictions for next year, give the people what they want.
Where will these Free Agents be Next Year?
Kevin Durant: Brooklyn Nets
Why? Because Durant wants to build his own legacy. If it was just about winning, he'd stay in Oakland, (oops, I mean San Francisco,) or go back to Oklahoma City. Kawhi Leonard: Toronto Raptors
Why? I think Leonard may sign a 1-year deal and do free agency ALL OVER AGAIN! Jimmy Butler: Philadelphia 76'ers
Why? This is the one I'm least sure of. If I waited a day, I'd probably answer something different. Kyrie Irving: Brooklyn Nets
Why? Because Irving is a dumbass. Klay Thompson: Golden State Warriors
Why? I think the owner wants to keep Thompson a Warrior forever. DeMarcus Cousins: New York Knicks
Why? Because Cousins is breaking down physically so he'll sign with the Knicks. The Knicks have to sign someone, and of course they'll make the wrong choice and overpay the wrong guy. Kemba Walker: Charlotte Hornets
I think the Hornets' hands are tied and they will have to pay him the SuperMax Contract. The only other scenario I can come up with is a sign and trade with the Knicks. Walker and Cousins, good for the #8 seed for the next 2 years. (Or a sign and trade with the...Pistons?)
Kristaps Porzingis: Dallas Mavericks
Why? Mark Cuban, that's why.
Tobias Harris: Philadelphia 76'ers
Why? Because I think Redick is the odd man out.
Notice the bold face font? Those are the teams getting new players. I believe most of the players are staying put.
And what about the poorly advised?
Anthony Davis: I still think he wants out, but somehow, someway, I think he's going to end up in L.A.
(With the Clippers.)
LeBron James: He'll still be a Laker. I think someone is getting traded to the Lakers.
(Don't ask me who. Kevin Love? Chris Paul?)
Lonzo Ball: I think someone is getting traded AWAY from the Lakers.
(Preferably somewhere that Ball Sr. will hate. Utah, New Orleans, or Minnesota.
The Cleveland Cavaliers? They'll get nothing and like it.
Who are my inside guys? No one.
In the past week I've listened to a ton of Sports Talk. Everything was Fantasy Football or Basketball. (And a little bit of Cleveland Indians underachieving.) The hottest topic by far was Basketball Free Agency. In Cleveland, hockey might as well be the Indian Premiere League in Cricket.
Editor's note: Why don't we like Colin Coherd? Easy. No one defends Big Money better.