The Evster Breaks Down the NBA Lottery

The Evster Breaks Down the NBA Lottery

Little known fact: every blog post on this website must be about Philadelphia. I once failed to mention Thaddeus Young in a post about who has the smoothest calves in the NBA (it's Udonis Haslem) and Enrico banned me from the site for three months. I wasn't even sure what he meant -- was I banned from writing? banned from reading? -- I think he just wanted to ban someone. It's amazing what a little power can do to a person. So in order to keep everything copacetic with my dictator boss (HAIL ENRICO), I've decided to take a look at the 12 other teams who picked in last night's lottery and determine whether or not they'll have more ping pong balls than us next year.

Cliff's Notes version: NO ONE WILL HAVE MORE PING PONG BALLS THAN US NEXT YEAR

1. Cleveland - Anthony Bennett, F, UNLV

On a night filled with great uncertainty, you gotta hand it to the Cavs for taking a guy who no one has ever seen play basketball. Sure, NBA experts will tell you about his ability to create his own shot and his NBA-READY SMOOTH CHOCOLATEY SHOULDERS, but they simply watched the same three-minute YouTube mix that you did. Three weeks ago, no one even knew that UNLV still had a basketball program. But after they saw Bennett's monster dunks and gigantic butt set to HOT RHYMES AND SWIFT BEATS, why not take him at #1? Personally, I love the pick, love his butt and thought JR Rider was the greatest player of our generation.

Are the Cavs better than the Sixers? They have Kyrie Irving.

2. Orlando - Victor Oladipo, G, Indiana

Tremendous athlete, hard worker, high flyer, just not that good at basketball. Don't get me wrong, you'll love watching Victor finish on the break (in the Rookie Game), it's just the whole dribbling, passing, shooting thing he's not that great at. Still, when you're building a team around Nik Vucevic and Tobias Harris, you want to get the guy who has the most potential to dunk a basketball with his mouth. And I think Magic got their man here. He'll be a mega fan favorite in Orlando for the simple reason that people who live in Florida are complete and total lunatics.

Are the Magic better than the Sixers? Probably.

3. Washington - Otto Porter Jr., F, Georgetown

This pick will work out for the Wizards only if they give their 12th and final roster spot to Otto Porter Sr. Think about it: late in the 4th Quarter, Wizards down 15 at home, fans starting to grumble and pack up their things, when Head Coach Randy Wittman points down the bench for Otto Sr -- or "Pops'o" as his teammates call him -- to check in. Pops'o rises slowly, unbuttons his warm-ups, takes them off and folds them neatly on his chair, a buzz fills the arena, and the Wizards spend the final three minutes trying to run Pops'o off downscreens to get him an open jumper. The Wizards could even offer a free bag of popcorn to every ticket holder when Pops'o scores. This is a brilliant marketing maneuver that has zero chance of failure. Think about how excited you get for the Sixers to hit the century-mark and earn you that disgusting/amazing Big Mac that you never end up redeeming. Now think about what a 55-year-old would look like draining a jumper in Evan Turner's eye. Thank you.

Are the Wizards better than the Sixers? Yes, they have John Wall and he's the greatest player I've ever seen. Watch his top ten plays from last year and try to tell me otherwise.

TRY TO TELL ME OTHERWISE.

4. Charlotte - Cody Zeller, F, Indiana

Thank GAWD the Sixers didn't get him.

Are the Bobcats better than the Sixers? No.

5. Phoenix - Alex Len, F/C, Maryland

TV show pitch for NBATV: Phoenix Suns reality show called "Phoenix Sons." Alex Len (Ukraine), Marcin Gortat (Poland), Luis Scola (Argentina), Goran Dragic (Slovenia), Michael Beasley (Neptune) and the Morris Bros (Illadelph) travel around the country trying to impregnate as many women as possible. The winner gets a new Subaru.

Also, how 'bout the fact that the Suns are coached by our old pal Jeff Hornacek?!?! And how 'bout the fact that old Horny made the most shocking move of anyone before the draft by getting a semi-decent haircut?!?!

Are the Suns better than the Sixers? Jeff Hornacek is better than the Sixers.

6. Philadelphia - Nerlens Noel, F/C, Kentucky

Besides the hair, the mega-rams and the fact that Nerlens will SHOVE A BASKETBALL DOWN YOUR STUPID THROAT, here's another reason why this was a fantastic pick for the Sixers: THIS GUY WILL SHOVE A BASKETBALL DOWN YOUR STUPID THROAT. He's an old fashioned high flying mega ram jam throat stuffer, which is something the Sixers have been sorely lacking ever since Sharone Wright died when he accidentally shoved a basketball down his own stupid throat.

Also, yeah, Jrue Holiday was good, he was fine, but he is the TENTH best point guard in the ligg behind CP3, Rondo, Tony Parker, D-Will, Derrick Rose, Russel Westbreezy, Steph, Uncle Drew and Damien Lillard. Nerlens on the other hand is already the best center in the East even though he has pretty much no offensive skills whatsoever.

Are the Pelicans better than the Sixers? Who cares look how amazing this hat is.


7. Sacramento - Ben McLemore, G, Kansas

"Two-dribble max guy" according to Jay Bilas, which for those of you who haven't quite wrapped your head around that phrase, means that Ben McLemore is only capable of dribbling a basketball twice before he has to stop dribbling.

Are the Kings better than the Sixers? The Kings are absolutely terrible. But yeah, they're prolly better than the Sixers.

8. Detroit - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, G, Georgia

Doesn't matter. The Pistons selected Peyton Siva with their second round pick, who if you've ever seen PLAY BASKETBALL, is every bit as good as all of these dudes in the lottery. Siva only led his team to THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP in a tournament in which HE PLAYED BASKETBALL MUCH BETTER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE.

Are the Pistons better than the Sixers? Does a one-legged duck swim in circles?

(That means yes. The answer is yes.)

9. Utah - Trey Burke, G, Michigan

Poor Trey. Wooden and Naismith player of the year, led his team to the NCAA Final, and now he has to live in Utah. I guess if there's a silver lining to living in Snoozeville, USA, Trey will get to make millions of dollars playing a game where he tries to take a round orange bouncey thing and put it in a hoop.

Are the Jazz better than the Sixers? Yeah, the Jazz are better than the Sixers.

10. Portland - CJ McCollum, G, Lehigh

Whatever, I'm over him.

Are the Blazers better than the Sixers? Obvs, and also I saw a guy in Fairmount Park last weekend selling bean pies in a Sebastian Telfair Blazers jersey and I can't believe I didn't snap his picture I'm so sorry everybody I've let you down I'm so very very sorry.

11. Philadelphia - Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse

This guy stinks. Saw him play countless times at Syracuse and not once did he ever take over a game like a LOTTERY PICK SHOULD. "But Ev, he's got good size for a PG and great court vision!" Yeah? Then why did Utah and Portland, two teams who also took point guards, pass on him in favor of Burke and McCollum? He's a poor man's Shaun Livington, who's not even good, also look at this picture from his Twitter page.

UNACCEPTABLE.

12. Oklahoma City - Steven Adams, C, Pitt

Because 7-foot white guys from New Zealand always pan out well in the NBA.

Are the Thunder better than the Sixers? Good time to talk about Shane Battier's television debut: Terrible. He pretty much only had two questions in his arsenal: "Talk about how much ______ influenced you," and "Who are you most looking forward to playing against?" And only one of those were actual questions. Still, I much preferred him to Stuart Scott who I sort of hope dies?

13. Boston - Kelly Olynyk, F/C, Gonzaga

I can't wait 'til Nerlens shoves a basketball down this guy's throat.

Are the Celtics better than the Sixers? Kris Humphries!

Follow the Evster on Twitter @TVMWW and read his blog.

No splashes, but Phillies significantly upgraded lineup this offseason

No splashes, but Phillies significantly upgraded lineup this offseason

The addition of outfielder Michael Saunders doesn't suddenly make the Phillies an NL contender, but coupled with the trade for Howie Kendrick, the Phils' projected lineup is much deeper and more well-rounded than it was at this time last year.

By adding two capable corner outfield bats, the lineup has been lengthened, and it's unlikely you'll see someone like Freddy Galvis in the five-hole much in 2017.

The Saunders signing is not yet official, but assuming it goes through, the Phils' lineup could look like this on opening day:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B (S)
2. Howie Kendrick, LF 
3. Odubel Herrera, CF (L)
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Michael Saunders, RF (L)
6. Tommy Joseph, 1B
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS (S)

Considering the Phillies started Cedric Hunter and Peter Bourjos in the outfield corners last opening day, this is a huge upgrade even if Kendrick and Saunders are not huge names. 

Phillies leftfielders hit .212/.284/.332 last season. Unless Kendrick forgets how to hit overnight, he won't come close to those numbers. Phillies rightfielders had eight home runs in 637 plate appearances last season. Give Saunders that many PAs and you're likely looking at 27 to 30 homers.

Before last season, Kendrick hit between .279 and .322 every year from 2006 to 2015. Having a guy who can hit .290 with a .330-plus on-base percentage in the two-hole is a big deal, especially if he's hitting between Hernandez (.371 OBP last season) and Herrera (.361 OBP). You can foresee plenty of scenarios where, if that's the 1-2-3, Herrera comes up with runners on the corners in the first inning.

Saunders is another 20-plus home run bat. When you look through the Phillies' lineup, there are potentially five of those. Plus, don't sleep on the improvement Herrera made in that department last season, almost doubling his HR total from eight to 15.

The balance of left-handed and right-handed bats will make the Phillies more difficult to pitch to. It was important that the outfield bat they added was left-handed, because if not you'd be looking at an extremely right-handed heavy middle of the order.

Also, don't underestimate the impact of adding two veteran hitters who have had success in the majors. Franco could use all the additional advice he can get. Herrera, too, is at an impressionable age. Might Franco be less likely to give away an at-bat, as he did so many times in 2016, with someone like Kendrick there to greet him at the top step of the dugout? That question may sound silly, but the entire environment changes when you add a respected veteran leader to a clubhouse filled with kids.

This is not to say the Phillies will have a top-five offense in 2017. They'll still likely be toward the bottom-half or bottom-third of the National League, but as of right now this isn't the NL's worst lineup like it was for the majority of last season. The Reds and Padres have worse lineups, and you could add the Brewers and Pirates to that list if Ryan Braun and Andrew McCutchen are traded.

Pete Mackanin has called for more offense and more lineup flexibility and he's gotten it, even though it doesn't involve real star power. Kendrick's ability to also play first base and second base could allow Aaron Altherr to get some playing time in an outfield corner when Hernandez or Joseph sits. 

The only real casualty of the Saunders signing is Roman Quinn, who Mackanin confirmed Tuesday night would likely spend the year at Triple A. Quinn showed some flashes late last season and is an exciting player, but it would have been risky to rely on him as a starting outfielder in 2017 given he's never even reached 400 plate appearances in a season. 

Sixers' game vs. Rockets Jan. 27 moved to national TV

Sixers' game vs. Rockets Jan. 27 moved to national TV

With the Sixers winning and Joel Embiid turning heads nationally, interest in Brett Brown's team continues to grow. So much so, apparently, that the Sixers' home game against the Rockets on Jan. 27 has been moved to ESPN.

The announcement that Sixers-Rockets would replace Bulls-Heat was made by the NBA Tuesday night. It will be the second Sixers game on national TV this season and they'll look for a better result than the 24-point loss in Minnesota on TNT Nov. 17.

The Sixers host the Rockets a night after the NBA announces the All-Star Game reserves. (Starters are named Jan. 19.) It seems likely at this point Embiid will have a spot on the Eastern Conference roster.

The Sixers have five games before then and all will be challenging: vs. Toronto, vs. Portland, at Atlanta, vs. Clippers, at Milwaukee. Add in Houston and those teams are a combined 151-101 (.599).

They will catch a break in one of those games by missing Clippers PG Chris Paul, who will miss six to eight weeks after having left thumb surgery.

The Rockets, at 32-12, are third in the Western Conference, 1½ games behind the Spurs and 4½ behind the Warriors. Houston is on pace to shatter some NBA three-point records under first-year head coach Mike D'Antoni, an assistant on Brown's Sixers staff last season.

The Rockets set the NBA record on Dec. 17 for threes made (24) and attempted (61) in a game. And this past Sunday, the Rockets and Nets tied the NBA record by attempting 88 threes.