Forget LeBron James, Steph Curry, Tim Duncan, and whoever else… Even forget the new guys like Anthony Davis and Kristaps Porzingis.  The newest NBA craze is next year’s #1 pick LSU Forward Ben Simmons.

Yes… Ben Simmons

Jump into your hype-mobile, because the next LeBron is here.  He’s LeBron size (6’9” 240) and he plays “point forward” (besides averaging a points/rebounds double-double every night, he posts 6 assists and 2.5 steals for LSU).  In short, the guy is one of those players with “the sky isn’t high enough” potential.    And so far, in the 2016 draft, there doesn’t appear to be any silver medal.

That makes the bouncing of the ping pong balls more crucial than ever, and further highlights the need for draft reform that would be truly meaningful.  Let’s get rid of the 14 team lottery and limit it only to the very worst teams at the bottom of the NBA pile.  And if you qualify as one of them, get rid of the weighting system altogether.  Then it won’t matter if you only win 11 games or 14 or 17 or 20.  If you’re bottom of the barrel, you get one equal shot at the top pick along with the other 4 or 5 worst teams in the league.  That will end the incentive to tank it worse than everyone else and will also end the occasional unfortunate outcome when a team with 38 wins or so sneaks into the top 3.  What the hell is the point of that?

In the meantime, here’s hoping Simmons wind up with a team putrid enough to deserve him.  I’m guessing the Lakers and Sixers have the best shot.


Power Rankings For Players!

(Last week’s ranking in parentheses)

  1.  Steph Curry, G (GS) (1) – Who else?
  1.  LeBron James, F (CLE) (3) – Back on top.
  1.  Kawhi Leonard, F (SA) (4) – Putting distance between them and the field.
  1.  Russell Westbrook, G (OKC) (6) – Playing like we thought.
  1.  Paul George, G (IND) (2) – You can build around him.
  1.  Kyle Lowry, G (TOR) (–) – Time to take notice of this one.
  1.  Kevin Durant, F (OKC) (–) – Making their move.
  1.  Jimmy Butler, G (CHI) (5) – Treading water.
  1.  James Harden, G (HOU) (–) – Can’t do it alone.
  1.  Blake Griffin, F (LAC) (10) – Anyone else notice the West ain’t what it used to be?


What’s the hot rumor this week?

Who’s the next NBA coach on the hot seat.  Word is that it’s Lionel Hollins of the Brooklyn Nets.  How can you tell?  Hollins was given the dreaded “vote of confidence” from General Manager Billy King this week.

The irony, of course, is that Hollins has proven to be a good coach, having put together an outstanding run with Memphis from 2010 to 2013.  By contrast, King has not distinguished himself as a GM.  He did little to wow anyone when he held the job with the Sixers, but got somewhat of a free pass because it was perceived that Larry Brown was making most of the bonehead moves.  But look at his record with Brooklyn.  In fact, does anyone think Brooklyn is underachieving right now because of their coach, or do they stink because the roster is a hot mess, one made by their GM Billy King.

If the Nets do fire Lionel Hollins, count me down as saying they’re getting rid of the wrong guy.


Observations and opinions on this week’s action

“When I’m old I can add in stories that I played against Kobe, like a lot of older guys do about Michael Jordan.” – Raptors G DeMar DeRozan, on Kobe Bryant’s last game in Toronto.

“Momentum is a huge thing in sports.  If you’re able to get a little momentum and able to ride that wave, you can do some special things. We caught a good wave tonight.” – Cavaliers F LeBron James, after the Cavs overcame an 18 point deficit to beat Portland.

“Everything was off. We messed up in every facet. We talk about things, but we don’t do it. We’ve had enough conversations. I don’t know how many speeches he has to give.” – Heat F Chris Bosh, referring to veteran Udonis Haslem trying to rally the team with a locker room talk.

“I’m the most difficult player to referee in the NBA.” – Knicks F Carmelo Anthony, claiming that is what he is told by officials when he doesn’t get calls he thinks should be made.

“I just try to play the game and make it simple for myself.  I knew last time they were expecting me to be aggressive and score every time I got the ball, so I tried to switch the game up.” – Thunder F Kevin Durant, after putting up a triple double against Atlanta.

“A bad triple double.  A terrible triple double last year.” – Pistons G Reggie Jackson, recalling last year’s effort against the Sixers which saw him post a triple double but shoot 4-17 in a losing effort.

“It felt like old times.” – Warriors veteran F Andre Iguodala, pressed into playing 44 minutes (a season high) due to injuries to help the team beat Boston in double OT.

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