The Independent Variable
🏀 Lotto Balls and Western Battles - an NBA Live Weblog
May 14, 2019
As an NBA fan tonight is a big night with both the NBA Draft Lottery and the beginning of the Conference Finals with game one of the Western Conference Finals kicking off in Oakland.
As a Chicago Bulls fan, a lot is at stake. With the fourth worst record in the league, they end up with a 12.5% chance to land the number one pick, which will be Zion Williamson from Duke, and a 48% chance to land in the top four, where they will get a shot at Ja Morant, Jarrett Culver, or Darius Garland.
Others might look at RJ Barrett here, and while I’m sure he will be a good player, I’m just not as high on him, I might even go with Cam Reddish before Barrett, but then again I have no say and my job is not on the line if I’m wrong.
I also like Coby White out of North Carolina, but he’s a last resort if the lottery gods decide to reign hell over Chicago, which would be cruel given it’s taking place here tonight. All of that is being said without knowing where Chicago’s pick will end up at this point. I will definitely dive in deeper at another point.
The festivities kick off at 7:30 Central, so buckle in, cross your fingers, and hope the balls bounce Chicago’s way.
- 19:22 - Enjoyed the quick Adam Silver interview. Woj and Rachel asked the big questions around a) draft age and b) season length. Silver has done a great job since taking over and it’s his willingness to be open towards change that has contributed to the growth of the game.
- 19:32 - Feel a bit bad for Barrett. He’s still gonna make big bucks, but he went in as the presumed number one big and now is being entirely overshadowed by his teammate Zion.
- 19:36 - Man, I’d love to see Zion in Chicago…
- 19:45 - Fuck
- 19:47 - Bulls end up with the seventh pick. It’s a six player draft, in my opinion… Hopefully someone falls down a little bit. This probably means we go with Coby White then…
- 19:48 - Lakers, Knicks, Grizzlies, and Pelicans still alive for the top pick… And I’m just depressed now.
4th - Lakers
3rd - Knicks
2nd - Grizzlies
1st - Pelicans
- 19:52 - Holy shit, does AD stay in NOLA now???
- 19:57 - David Griffin lucking into a great GM job. Before tonight, his job was trying to vet the best deal for AD. Now he can snag Zion, and maybe keep AD. Even if he can’t keep AD, he has a new center piece, where whatever he can get back for AD should be enough to build a playoff team around Zion.
- 20:05 - ESPN’s quick Mock Draft has the top five as:
- Zion to NOLA
- Ja Morant to the Griz
- RJ Barrett to NY
- Darius Garland to the Lakers
- De’Andre Hunter to the Cavs
- My gut says the Grizzlies would go with Barrett. Leaving Ja for NYK. Maybe the Bulls can unload Zach LaVine and the 7th pick to LA for the fourth pick. LeBron doesn’t want a rookie guard and I don’t think there will be a lot of other teams trying to trade for their pick.
POR @ GSW
- 20:11 - Steph is guarding McCollum, which is going to be a tough assignment for him. CJ getting the first bucket on an offensive rebound.
- 20:16 - Both teams look a little disorganized to start. 8:00 9-9
- 20:18 - Klay’s turnaround jumper is mind-blowing to me. More so than Curry’s crazy threes. He does half his spin while in the air, squares, and knocks down like it’s nothing.
- 20:22 - Curry coming up with a one handed offensive board.
- 20:24 - Deeeeeeep outlet pass from Curry to Green for the reverse layup to go up five. 4:45 17-13
- 20:26 - If Portland wants to compete, it’s going to be Kanter and McCollum. Not to take anything away from Dame, who I love, but that’s who the Warriora, and more importantly Klay, are keyed in on.
- 20:27 - Neither Dame or Cj are great defensively. But they have to guard Curry and Klay.
- 20:29 - It’s not rocket science to say Golden State are the favorites. Neither is it to say Klay is a big factor in the series. But he is in fact the X-factor here. This is a guards series, Dame/CJ vs. Curry/Klay. Klay is the only top-tier defender of the quad and that’ll be the difference.
- 20:36 - Good knocks down a three at the first quarter buzzer due to a late rotation back from Livingston.
Portland 23-27 Golden State
- 20:45 - Kerr using his bench much more already in this series. Obviously, Looney and Livingston came in as the sixth/seventh man, but we’ve also seen McKinnie, Bell, Cook, and Jerebko already. He’s going to need to trust these guys if they end up playing Milwaukee, who has no problem going deep and keeping Giannis rested. It’ll also help when Durant and Cousins come back.
- 20:53 - I wonder if Kerr’s thinking about the bench is the same as mine or if he just doesn’t see Portland as a threat and wants to keep his guys rested.
- 20:59 - Lack of updates this quarter are due to a prehistoric looking bug hanging from the drawstring if the ceiling fan above my head. Tried to knock it down with a rolled up magazine, which sent the drawstring flying, and now I don’t know what happened to the bug. Safe to say I moved to a different seat to watch the rest of the game.
- 21:05 - Curry finally able to get one of those one handed flips in at the basket. That should really get him going, although he does already have 13 with a minute left in the half.
Portland 45-54 Golden State
- 21:30 - Golden State has only added two points to their lead four minutes through the third quarter, but there is an electricity in the air. Portland needs to keep this third quarter close or it will get out of hand in a hurry.
- 21:31 - I continue to be fascinated by the way Kerr uses Bogut. He plays the first five minutes of each half and that’s basically it.
- 21:36 - The bug came back.. Bruce Wayne tracked him down for me. Was able to get a clean away with a magazine this time. Apparently it was a stink bug, although it doesn’t smell. I’m just hoping it’s friends don’t follow.
- 21:38 - Big three from CJ to silence the crowd and cut the lead to fourteen during the Warriors third quarter surge.
- 21:47 - Hood knocks down a three to reduce their defecit back down to nine. Everytime I think the Warriors have jumped ahead significantly, Portland is able to quiet the crowd.
Portland 71-77 Golden State
- 22:12 - Been busy looking at draft lottery news… I’m still holding out hope AD changes his mind… Jrue, Zion, and AD. I think Payton still fits in at PG. You have Jahil and Randle as backup bigs. You really just need to add another 3/4 wing. If I’m AD, I tell Griffin, if you find that guy who can fit in the front court alongside me and Zion, I stay. But that’s just me.
- 22:23 - Warriors are steamrolling at this point with just over two minutes to go. That’s gonna be a wrap for me.
Portland points-more points Golden State