NBA Lottery Chit-Chat and MLB Managers in Trouble

IT’S THE JIM SEZ MID-WEEK UPDATE: LOTS ON OUR MIND AS WE DISCUSS THE NBA LOTTERY, THE FATE OF THE SAN ANT SPURS AND BASEBALL’S SHORT LIST OF MANAGERS (ALREADY) ON THE HOT SEAT

Okay, we admit to loving the “game show feel” of Tuesday night’s NBA Lottery but, heck, there really was no major drama as the team that was expected to land the numero uno pick in the June 22nd NBA Draft – the Boston Celtics (via that still-ridiculous trade with the Brooklyn Nets years ago) – snagged the top choice and now all the scuttlebutt has begun as to whether the Celtics will trade away the pick for perhaps Utah G Gordon Hayward, New York F Carmelo Anthony or some other prized package.

You asking us?

We believe the Celtics will sit tight and hold onto that top pick and our (tentative) choice to be the #1 selection in this year’s NBA Draft will be … ahh, you can wait a moment or two right? We’ve decided to splash up our at-the-moment top 10 picks and we’ll get ‘em to you shortly but first this key reminder as the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Playoffs roll on:

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have all the NBA Playoff and Major-League Baseball winners – get ‘em at www.jimhurley.com or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. And don’t forget it’s Preakness Weekend too as Always Dreaming goes for the second leg of this year’s Triple Crown on Saturday!

THE NBA LOTTERY

Here’s goes with a quick-hitter look at how we see the top 10 picks going (as of now) in next month’s draft:

  1. BOSTON – Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington … This kid will be a “20-10” player (as in points/assists) before too long.
  2. LOS ANGELES LAKERS – Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA … The squeaky wheel dad gets his way as Magic and Company “steal” the second pick.
  3. PHILADELPHIA – De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky … Truth be told we’d take this one-and-done ‘Cat before we grabbed either Fultz or Ball, so Sixers likely Draft Night “winners”!
  4. PHOENIX – Jayson Tatum, F, Duke … Suns were the team that were scorched the most by the ping-pong balls but no real losers here as this former Blue Devils’ star has unlimited potential.
  5. SACRAMENTO – Josh Jackson, F, Kansas … Good chance that the Kings (who also own pick #10) will trade away one of these premium picks for a “live body” with Washington and Minnesota said to be interested in trading up.
  6. ORLANDO – Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona … The Magic believe this “poor man’s Kristaps Porzingis” will eventually become a defensive presence too.
  7. MINNESOTA – Justin Patton, C, Creighton … Seven-footer may be real prize among top 10 picks and Timberwolves drooling over the prospects of pairing ‘em up with Karl-Anthony Towns.
  8. NEW YORK – Frank Ntilikina, PG, France … Sad-sack Knicks go international again and take best available point guard on the draft board.
  9. DALLAS – Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State … The Mavericks need a bit of everything but this is one piece that goes towards replacing Dirk Nowitzki, entering 20th and final year.
  10. SACRAMENTO – TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA … Again, Kings could deal away either #5 or #10 here but staying put and get the second-best player from Westwood.

THE NBA PLAYOFFS

The good news for the San Antonio Spurs is they have till Saturday to get superstar F Kawhi Leonard back on the floor after he re-injured his ankle in a Game 1 loss here in these NBA Western Conference Finals:

The bad news is that the Spurs now have to win four of the next five games to unseat the mighty Golden State Warriors … and there’s as much chance of that happening as the Cleveland Browns getting to next year’s Super Bowl.

Still, do you think Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich would have cut his club a little slack following Tuesday’s 136-100 loss at the 13.5-point favorite Warriors? Not a damn chance!

Instead, Popovich – who seemingly is feared by the media and yet lauded non-stop by TV talking heads – ripped into his short-handed team and claimed they felt “sorry” for themselves.

Naturally, this came 24 hours after Popovich verbally assaulted Golden State’s Zaza Pachulia for what the coach deemed a “dirty play” when Leonard came down on Pachulia’s foot.

Maybe Popovich should spend less time blasting opponent players, his own team and President Trump – when will this coach just stay out of politics/Trump and mind his own business! – and get his team focused for Game 3. That would be nice, right?

THE BASEBALL REPORT

Can we share a little secret?

Nobody likes to see any Major-League Baseball manager lose his job during the course of a season but, hey, reality being what it is the fact remains there will be “casualties” between now and late September and so it’s our job to unveil a short list of skippers already on the proverbial “host seat”:

JOHN GIBBONS, Toronto – The Blue Jays entered Wednesday’s action at 17-23 and sitting in the basement in the rough-and-tumble American League East. Sure, it’s not his fault the Jays failed to re-sign DH Edwin Encarnacion (not exactly lighting it up in Cleveland these days) but there have been plenty of scratch-your-head managerial moves that have blown up. If the Blue Jays are still floundering come early June, then Gibbons will be a goner.

CLINT HURDLE, Pittsburgh – The Pirates are playing dreadful .410 ball and already are minus 42 in the runs differential category … and you can’t blame it all on OF Andrew McCutchen (.206 batting average with 29 Ks). The Buccos rank at or near the bottom of all National League offensive stats and Hurdle’s done little to stir any energy. Time for a “new voice”?

TERRY COLLINS, New York Mets – We toss this one-time World Series manager onto this short list but admit there’s probably only a 10-to-15 percent chance he gets fired this season. However, the Mets are a lifeless bunch these days with a tattered bullpen and Collins must take the criticism for wearing down his relievers. It’s possible the Mets already are out of the running for the NL East crown (check those standings) and a lousy last two weeks in May could speed up Collins’ exit.

NOTE: More NBA Playoff coverage in the next Jim Sez.

26
Sep

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