Don't Be Fooled: Lonzo To LA Is Lock
Sports |  Source: businessinsider.com

Don't Be Fooled: Lonzo To LA Is Lock

Don't kid yourself.

The NBA Draft is Thursday, which means fans of NBA bottom-feeders have had their Twitter feeds inundated by rumor after rumor after rumor concerning not only their favorite team, but all of the teams slotted to select above them.

Me? I'm a Sixers fan. I've been hearing all about who Boston likes at 1 (hint: it's Markelle Fultz) and who the Lakers are eyeing up at two. Actually, for Philly fans, it's even a bit more complicated than that because there's been talks of trading back (maybe 3 for Sacramento's 5 and 10 so the Kings can land Fox?).

Every year, it's a wild ride. But, if I've learned anything from Sixers Twitter since the famous June 2013 night where Hinkie dealt away Jrue for Nerlens Noel... You can't trust anything leading up to the draft.

Pretend that in your fantasy football draft, you have the third overall pick. All July and August, you're researching, monitoring training camps, looking at rankings - all in preparation for the draft. Why would you, ever, tell the guys who you're looking to take at 3?

I mean, it's ok to throw around some feelers: "I like this guy, I think he's primed for a breakout season," or "This guy's definitely a sleeper." But why would you ever tell your buddy, who has the second overall pick, "I'm taking player X." Then, that guy knows where your head is. He can threaten to take your beloved player X if you don't cough over something else in return.

In the 2013 Draft, Hinkie had the 10th pick. The Magic were picking 11th. Hinkie knew he wanted Dario Saric, the Croatian stretch-4 - but he also knew that the Magic were bullish on Elfrid Payton, the PG from Louisiana-Lafayette. He called Orlando and threatened to keep Payton unless the Magic paid a price.

That price ended up being a 2017 top-11 protected first round pick (which won't convey) and a 2015 second round pick. So, just by playing his cards right, Hinkie got the player he wanted at 10 anyways (Saric) and was gifted a second rounder. All because he knew the Magic were (too) high on Payton.

That is why teams not only try to keep their pre-draft preferences quiet, but they even use media outlets and reports to deceive other teams, especially the ones drafting ahead of them.

Here are a couple examples:

Lonzo to the Lakers makes entirely too much sense. The Lakers don't need another project. They have Randle. They have Ingram. They have D'Angelo Russell, who isn't just a project, but appears to be better off as a 2 guard.

Now, they need the glue to come in and bring it all together. Ball is, by a country mile, the best glue guy in this draft. Not too mention, LA needs a point guard. And Ball is... you guessed it, a point guard.

It's not that I'm egregiously high on Ball - some think he's the next Jason Kidd or Magic Johnson. I'm not willing to even go there. I think his jumper is whack and I'm hesitant to ever call him a 20 a game guy in the league. But he's a hell of a facilitator. I don't think he's a lock at 2 for any other team... but he just makes too much sense in LA.

Of course, the Lakers can't come out and say, "We're taking Lonzo," because even Magic is savvy enough to realize Danny Ainge is picking right above them, and he's had somewhat of a history of luring teams into unforgiving trades. They're wheeling and dealing and angling and telling the media things like "he's maybe, sorta out of shape" and "someone promised Josh Jackson something" and whatever. It's all bullshit.

Lonzo is not only the obvious pick for LA - he's the right pick. No one else makes sense. I will be appalled if the Lakers select anyone else at 2. All of this Twitter fodder is just the Lakers covering their bases and trying to keep their poker face for just another week.

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Sports |  Source: sportingnews.com

The GOAT of Basketball Hall of Fame Classes

2021 will be the greatest class ever.

The first Hall of Fame ceremony I ever watched was the 2009 NBA Hall of Fame Class, headlined by Michael Jordan, John Stockton, and David Robinson. Though Jordan was clearly the main reason why I watched the two and a half hour ceremony, I could see that this class was something special.

Looking back on it and comparing it other Hall of Fame Classes in the past, 2009 was the best class in history. That being said, that title will end after a dozen years

On November 29, 2015, Kobe Bryant wrote in the Players Tribune that he had decided to retire at the end of the basketball season following two straight injury plagued seasons, marking the end of a surefire Hall of Fame career.

Eight months later, probably Bryant's biggest Western Conference rival throughout his career, Tim Duncan, announced his retirement following a poor performance in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.

Two months later, the only player in the league that has played a game of NBA basketball without Tim Duncan or Kobe Bryant in the league, Kevin Garnett, decided to step away from the game.

In a span of 10 months, three of the game's greatest players walked away from the NBA. There is no doubt in the mind of any basketball writer that these three players are going to be enshrined in Springfield on their first ballot, which means that the 2021 Hall of Fame class will feature Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, and Kobe Bryant.

Combined, the three have 11 NBA Championships, five Finals MVP, four Regular Season MVP awards, 25 All NBA First Teams, and enough great memories and moments throughout their career to make their own Hall of Fame to rival one in Springfield, MA.

Classes with multiple legends are not something new in basketball. Oscar Robertson and Jerry West headlined the 1980 Class. 2008, the year prior to the Jordan, Robinson, and Stockton class, the class of Pat Riley, Patrick Ewing, and Hakeem Olajuwon clearly can hold its own with any other.

However, just by the sheer star power with The Black Mamba, the Big Fundamental, and the Big Ticket, I don't see a class that can match up to the future 2021 class.

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Sports |  Source: dcatabay.com, ESPN (edited)

If NBA Players Were Characters From The Office

What if Dwight focused on basketball instead of beet farming?

Below are the NBA alter-egos for all of your favorite characters from The Office.

Erin Hannon - Milwaukee Bucks SF Tony Snell
It would be way to easy to start with Michael, so I figured I'd throw a curveball and kick off with The Office's second receptionist. Erin's biggest flaw is that she never really has any idea what's happening at any given moment.

Sometimes, I feel this way about Tony Snell on the basketball court. On the offensive end, Snell stands in the corner, hoping the ball doesn't find him. On defense, he shuffles around mindlessly, absolutely clueless of his assigned rotation. Snell is so unaware sometimes that he forgets to log any statistic at all.

Andy Bernard- New Orleans Pelicans C DeMarcus Cousins
"Jack, how does this make any sense?" you might ask. Well, think about it. Andy struggles with his temper (he once punched a hole in the wall), but his heart is almost always in the right place. He tried giving the 12 days of Christmas to Erin for Secret Santa - although it backfired, that was a genuinely thoughtful gesture.

Now, take Boogie. He never really worked out in Sacramento. He bickered with management and the coaching staff, and sometimes he let his anger get the best of him (see: technical foul totals).

But, if you ask the people from Sacramento about Cousins, they rave about all the work he did within the community, and most of his ex-teammates recall him as a lovable guy who just wanted to win so badly. Sounds like the Nard Dog to me.

Jim Halpert - Los Angeles Clippers PG Chris Paul
Jim is cunning. He's clever. He's smart. And, well, it took him a long time, with plenty of trial and error, to find the perfect situation with Pam.

CP3's basketball IQ is through the roof. He sees passes before they're even there.

While Jim frustrates Dwight by putting his desk items in jello or in the vending machine, CP3 aggravates defenders with his pick-n-roll probing and utilization of the yo-yo dribble. Jim pranks Dwight - CP3 clowns defenders. Jim eventually figured it out with Pam. Hopefully CP3 eventually culminates the comparison and finds his perfect combination of teammates someday.

Ryan Howard - Minnesota Timberwolves G Lance Stephenson
Both enjoyed rapid climbs to the top. Stephenson was a key cog on the Pacers team that played LeBron and the Heat tough in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. Ryan Howard upgraded from temp to CEO in about a hot second.

But, just as quickly, both enjoyed precipitous falls. Ryan committed fraud and ended up working at a bowling alley after his termination, and well, Stephenson is now struggling to even stick on an NBA roster.

Stanley Hudson - Sixers C Jahlil Okafor
Stanley shows very little interest in being in The Office. Okafor shows very little interest in being on a basketball court.

Angela Martin - Chicago Bulls PG Rajon Rondo
They're both small, annoying, petty people with whom no one ever wants to work. No one at Dunder Mifflin can even stand Angela and I'm fairly certain that the Chicago Bulls would have traded Rondo for a locker room beer pong table if offered before last week's trade deadline.

Pam Beasly (Halpert) - Cleveland Cavaliers PF Kevin Love
Love really wanted it to work in Minnesota. I mean, that's who drafted him. He loved putting up 20 pts/20 rebs games for the Wolves.

He was comfortable there, but sure enough, it grew tiresome waiting for management to reward him with more talent. So, he pushed Minnesota to deal him to Cleveland.

Love was definitely stepping out of his comfort zone, but deep down, he knew that with LeBron in Cleveland is where he'd find the most love and success. Although he was reluctant to accept the trade rumors at first, Love eventually came around and won a title in Northeast Ohio.

Damn, this sounds a lot like the Jim and Pam dynamic.

Phyllis Vance - New Orleans Pelicans C Omer Asik
Physically, they just look similar.

Meredith Palmer - Cavaliers SG JR Smith
Both are entirely too willing to take off their shirts.

Dwight Schrute - UCLA PG Lonzo Ball
Ok, so I cheated and dipped into the college ranks for one of these. Dwight is a really weird dude. But, for all his quirks, his salesmanship tactics frequently excel beyond all other Dunder Mifflin salesmen. It doesn't matter how he's getting the job done, it just matters that he's getting it done.

That's Lonzo. It doesn't really matter that Lonzo shoots across his body from his left shoulder. What does matter is that his shots go in, from just about anywhere.

Michael Scott -Oklahoma City Thunder PG Russell Westbrook
Michael's the boss. He's rather insensitive, tone-deaf, unaware and petty. But, when push comes to shove, Michael is a great employee who gets the job done. Frequently, Scranton's branch outperforms all others despite what seems to be lackluster leadership and effort.

That matches up perfectly with the Thunder point guard. Westbrook's insensitive pettiness has manifested itself throughout Durant's departure. He's entirely tone-deaf when he deals with the media. He doesn't really care what people think about him (see: pregame outfits).

But, he's loyal - Westbrook just signed a massive extension in Oklahoma City when he could have gone elsewhere. He loves his OKC family. Michael loves his Scranton family. Despite their glaring character flaws, both are valiant leaders of a seemingly misfit unit of workers.

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Sports |  Source: gq.com

First Magic, Now Kobe?

We'll see if ex-players becomes the new trend.

At 19-38, the Los Angeles Lakers currently sit seven games out of the playoffs in the west and have the third worst record in the entire NBA. Young talent and a young head coach still aren't producing the kind of wins the LA fan base is used to.

The last time the Lakers made the playoffs was way back in the 2012-2013 season. Then Kobe tore his achilles and the Lakers haven't been the same since. Since nothing seems to be working for the Lakers in recent years, Jeanie Buss, the president and part owner of the team, decided to make a change.

The change was the addition of former Laker star Magic Johnson into the front office. Magic will serve as an advisor to Jeanie Buss to help out any way he can.

While Magic will have multiple roles with the team, he has one goal in mind: "I will do everything in my power to help return the Lakers to their rightful place among the elite teams of the NBA."

It has been a long time since the Lakers have been among the NBA elites, and Jeanie Buss believes Magic can be the savior of the franchise.

So far, Magic has made some big proclamations with no real action. His biggest announcement since being named to the position on Feb. 2 was explaining what his first move would be: making a call to Kobe Bryant. The recently retired Laker is on Magic's radar as someone who can come in and help the Laker's front office.

Why? "Because Kobe understands winning," Magic said.

Magic and Kobe share something in common that an overwhelming majority of former NBA players cannot speak on. They both have five championship rings, all with the Lakers. They know what it takes to win titles Tinseltown and have shown the determination and work ethic needed to reach NBA prominence.

Is this a good move to hire a former player to the front office with no GM experience? We saw it in the NFL nearly a month ago when the 49ers hired former player John Lynch on as GM. We saw it in Denver when John Elway built a championship team. Jerry West seems to be doing just fine with the Warriors, so now the Lakers are going to give this a shot.

While Magic is not under the title of GM, a lot of the tasks he is in charge of could be considered GM-esque. We will wait and see what happens to the Lakers in the next few years.

They most likely will get to keep their first rounder this year if it is in the top three (it is currently projected third), and they have a plethora of young talent and a smart head coach. It has been seven years since the Laker's last hoisted the trophy and won the championship and the fan base is itching to get back there as soon as possible.

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Sports |  Source: sportingnews.com

For The Lakers, Hope Has Come In The Form of Magic

Magic Johnson is now running the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. Since Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol last hoisted the championship in 2010, the Lakers have faded into obscurity.

They currently sit with one of the youngest rosters in the NBA, and have still struggled to find silver linings after continually finishing toward the bottom part of the Western Conference. This is not the type of play the Laker faithful expect and they have rallied to ensure something is done about it.

Today, something was finally done, as the Lakers shook up their front office. Failed Lakers owner Jim Buss has run this franchise into the ground since the passing of his late father Jerry Buss. Mitch Kupchak has gone right along with his disappointment, after having long been considered one of the league's best GMs.

The issue Kupchak has had is that he's seemed to cede to the demands of Buss and that their cooperation has resulted in mistake after mistake.

Not only will Jim Buss no longer be running basketball operations as per today, but Mitch Kupchak has also been fired, per Jeanie Buss. The Lakers wasted no time announcing the replacement plan.

Arguably the greatest Laker to ever play, Magic Johnson will take over the post as President of Basketball Operations. Johnson was very involved in the revitalization and has stayed in basketball circles doing broadcasting, commentating and a variety of other things over the years.

It's hard to tell exactly how he will seek to run this organization, but Laker fans know it will be in the fans best interest and that regardless of uncertainty, it is an extremely welcome change and something that's been discussed for quite some time now.

Lakers fans want familiar faces in the front office -- people with a love of Lakers basketball and an understanding of how to win championships in this league. Perhaps that's why Magic said if he got this job, his first call would be to Kobe Bryant. They now have it.

The team out west hasn't had much hope in recent years, apart from a few draft picks that have shown promise, but today, with a shake up in the front office, you can expect some major moves to follow that will put the Lakers back in prominent position. Today, Lakers fans breath a sigh of relief, as the weight of the horrible Jim Buss has been lifted off their shoulders.

Today Lakers fans everywhere stand together to say, "Welcome Mr. Johnson, work a little Magic."

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Sports |  Source: heavy.com

Lonzo Ball Rapped Over Drake's "Free Smoke" And It Was Actually Pretty Fire

This kid has balls.

We all heard the UCLA phenom spit a verse in his video with Lil Dicky last month, but we may have not realized that this kid might actually be better than we thought. This morning, Lonzo released a rap on SoundCloud under the name "ZO2" with DC The Don.

Lonzo's father, Lavar, has stolen the show the past few months, making us forget about how amazing, and how swaggy, his son really is. The way Zo runs, dribbles, passes, and shoots flow so well that it shouldn't be much of a surprise that he has extended the flow to the studio.

The rap starts off with a quick verse from Ball which actually sounds pretty legit and probably surprised many people who were expecting much worse. AT one point he hits us with:

"ZO2 times DC,

Worldwide shout out triple Bs,

From the Mil to the IE"

Here he introduces himself as ZO2, showing us that it is more than just the name of a shoe, but rather his rapper name. He also brings up his family brand, Big Baller Brand. Later, Zo hits us with my personal favorite line:

"I be ballin like I'm sponsored"

People forget that Zo most definitely had a say in the business of his father not accepting any sponsorships unless they licensed the Big Baller Brand. Zo is confident in his ability and his likeness, and believes he has the ability to make it big without a sponsorship, something that has never been done before.

He's out here spittin' bars, putting a target on his head, ready for the heat.

Zo brings up his dad later in the rap with the line:

"You a king I'm still your father,

Simba n*gga I'm Mufasa"

Ball is pointing out that although many people may think of him as Lavar's son, he is soon to be king of the NBA (and maybe the rap game as well). Overall, I loved this verse and this idea by Lonzo.

The target on his head can hardly get any bigger. He knows that he is going to have extra pressure on him because of all of the publicity surrounding him, but he also knows in his mind that he has the game to back it up. I was impressed by the rap and more importantly the message.