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.

Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand for anthem in protest

Colin Kaepernick refuses to stand for anthem in protest

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is refusing to stand for the national anthem before games because he believes the United States oppresses African Americans and other minorities.

Kaepernick sat on the team's bench Friday night during the anthem before the Niners played host to the Green Bay Packers in an exhibition game. He later explained his reasoning in an interview with NFL Media .

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Saturday that "players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the national anthem."

The 49ers issued a statement after Pro Football Talk initially reported on Kaepernick's stand, saying that Americans have the right to protest or support the anthem.

"The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pregame ceremony," the team said. "It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose to participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem."

Kaepernick, who is biracial, was adopted and raised by white parents. He has been outspoken on his Twitter account on civil rights issues and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Kaepernick is not the first U.S.-based athlete to use the anthem for protest. In 1996, NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to stand for the anthem, saying the United States had a history of tyranny and doing so would conflict with his Islamist beliefs. The NBA initially suspended Abdul-Rauf for his stance before it was lifted when he said he would stand and pray silently during the song.

Kaepernick said he is not worried about any potential fallout from his protest.

"This is not something that I am going to run by anybody," he told NFL Media. "I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed. ... If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right."

Kaepernick's agent did not immediately return a request for comment.

Kaepernick is in competition to win back the starting quarterback job in San Francisco that he lost to Blaine Gabbert last season. He made his first appearance of the preseason on Friday night after missing two games with a tired shoulder. He finished 2 for 6 for 14 yards and added 18 yards on four runs.

Dorial Green-Beckham out to prove to Eagles he's the gamebreaking WR they need

Dorial Green-Beckham out to prove to Eagles he's the gamebreaking WR they need

He knows how desperate Eagles fans are for a breakaway wide receiver, a gamebreaker, a big-play down-the-field speedster.
 
He knows that a fan base robbed of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin wants nothing more than to see him take advantage of this second chance and become the playmaker they all crave.
 
Dorial Green-Beckham knows how much Eagles fans want this to work.
 
“Yeah, I get a lot of stuff every day from the fans,” Green-Beckham said. “They look forward to seeing what I can do on the field and they look forward to seeing what I can do in this offense.
 
“I just want to go out there and impress everybody and show why I’m here.”
 
Green-Beckham, who joined the Eagles 11 days ago, played a few snaps last Thursday night against the Steelers, but he hadn’t even practiced yet.
 
Now he has a week of practices behind him, he’s learned a good chunk of the playbook and he even knows some of his teammates’ names.
 
And he’s hoping to show Saturday night what Eagles fans have been waiting to see for a couple years now.
 
DGB is expected to get a generous helping of work with the first offense Saturday night when the Eagles and Colts meet in a preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis (see 10 players to watch).

The first group is expected to play into the third quarter, which will be their most playing time this summer.
 
Green-Beckham says he's ready.
 
“Whatever is called, I’ve been through the playbook, I should be able to know what to do, where to line up, things like that,” he said.
 
“It’s just playing football. We’ve been doing it for a long time. Coming from a different organization, you hear different calls. You come here and everything is different. But it’s up to you to putting in the effort and making sure you’re accountable.”
 
Still seems odd the Titans would give up on the 40th pick in the draft after just one year. A year in which Green-Beckham caught 32 passes for 549 yards, sixth-most among rookie wide outs.
 
But here he is, trying to jumpstart a moribund Eagles wide receiver group.
 
It can’t be easy forgetting one playbook and learning another. But that’s his job right now.
 
“I just have to erase those memories from there and put a whole new playbook in my head and try to pick up as fast as I can to be able to help my team,” he said. “And I feel like that’s one thing I’ve done as a young guy, erase the memories that I had there and put in the extra time (here).
 
“Right now, I feel comfortable being around those guys. Using the older guys as a resource. Asking them questions, trying to figure out what I need to do.”
 
With his size and speed, it’s hard to imagine Green-Beckham not helping the Eagles.
 
Then again … the Titans didn’t want anything to do with him just a year after making him the 40th pick in the draft.
 
“He looks good,” offensive coordinator Frank Reich said. “Just continue to build, build, continue to build.
 
“He's an impressive, physical specimen, obviously. It’s funny. You stand out there as a coach, and they're running routes on air and sometimes as a coach you stand across from the receivers that are running at you. And when he runs at you, his size and speed, it just kind of grabs you.
 
“So really excited about having him here. Just like anybody else though, it's a process. It's a process and we keep giving them little chunks at a time to allow him to play fast and use his ability.
”
 
At 6-foot-5, Green-Beckham becomes the Eagles’ second-tallest wide receiver ever, behind the great Harold Carmichael, who was 6-8. Don Luft, who was with the Eagles in 1954, and Brian Finnegan — who had a drop that cost the Eagles a win in Doug Pederson's first start in an Eagles uniform — were also 6-5.
 
So he’s an obvious candidate to run the fade, which we saw in Pittsburgh.
 
But he wants it to be known he’s more than just a tall receiver who can catch a jump ball.
 
“It starts with being physical, showing that you’re a physical player, showing that you can play other positions besides just having jump balls thrown to you,” he said.
 
“Catching slants, being physical. Looking at the Calvin Johnsons, the Dez Bryants, all those type guys … trying to (base) my game based on what they do.”
 
You try to think of a similar instance of a team giving up on a player so quickly and that player becoming a force with the Eagles.
 
And there really isn’t a parallel.
 
So who knows?
 
Maybe Green-Beckham won’t pan out here either. But maybe he’ll take advantage of this second opportunity and give the Eagles something they’re sorely lacking.
 
“I feel like it’s a great opportunity, especially for me to move from one team to another and me being here a short period of time an being able to play with the 1's (Saturday night), it’s a big opportunity for me to just go out there and show them why I’m here, what I came here to do," Green-Beckham said.
 
“That’s my mindset, just stay focused and try to do those little things and try to impress my teammates.
 
“I feel like the whole team accepted me since I got here, since Day 1. Everybody was glad that I was here, everybody accepted me. They treated me like a brother. For me, that’s big. I feel more like it’s more of a family atmosphere and we all have each others’ backs.”

Union-Sporting Kansas City 5 things: Looking for back-to-back wins

Union-Sporting Kansas City 5 things: Looking for back-to-back wins

Union vs. Sporting Kansas City
7 p.m. on TCN, Pregame Live at 6:30

The Union kept afloat in the Eastern Conference playoff race last weekend by completing the season sweep of the Columbus Crew. Now, they have an opportunity to do something they’ve only done once this season — win back-to-back games. The Union (10-9-7) face Sporting Kansas City (11-11-5) Saturday night at Talen Energy Stadium.

Here are five things to know for the matchup.

1. Rookie power
In a surprising move, Union manager Jim Curtin tapped Josh Yaro and Fabian Herbers to accompany Keegan Rosenberry as starters on the road against the Crew. 

And the 2016 MLS SuperDraft trio, starting for the first time together, didn’t disappoint. 

“If you were to tell me before the game started that we’d get goals from Herbers and Rosenberry, I would probably tell you you were a little crazy,” Curtin said. “But we’re happy for them. I think it’s a big step in a tough atmosphere.”

Herbers opened the scoring for the Union by powering home a deflection off his own original shot. The goal was followed by a Rosenberry game-winning goal from a Tranquillo Barnetta pass into the box. 

“For Keegan, for Josh, for Herbers to step up the way they did in what I would call a big boy game, I think it shows them growing as players,” Curtin said. “It’s a real game out there where a team is fighting and is desperate to make a playoff push, we had to be alert for 90 minutes.”

The three had such an impact on last Saturday’s match that Curtin is likely to go to the kids again against SKC. Herbers made the start in place of Ilsinho, who is currently fighting off a foot injury.

“We’re a club that trusts young players and believes in playing young players,” Curtin said. “They rewarded us.” 

2. Bedoya’s impact
Although he won’t make the scoresheet, in three games, Alejandro Bedoya has impressed Curtin with his poise in the midfield and big-game calmness with the ball. 

“To think he’s in his preseason now is a scary thing,” said Curtin, who has played Bedoya 90 minutes in his last two games. “Three great performances and it’s only going to get better. I can’t say enough positives about him.”

What Curtin likes the most is Bedoya’s ability to keep possession and relax the game, something that helps a club overflowing with young players. 

“He has been a great influence on us keeping possession,” Curtin said. “It’s the simple balls that don’t show up in the stat sheet, where he catches it and just plays it to our outside back. That gives us time to catch our breath — it’s so valuable.”

SKC has noticed it, too. 

“They added a very good player, someone with a lot of experience and commitment to the game, especially in the midfield” SKC coach Peter Vermes said. “He poses a problem for any team they play against. For us, we have to be compact, we have to be smart and we have to take our chances really well.”

3. Tired SKC
The Union are catching Sporting Kansas City at the right time. Vermes’ club is winded after just one home match in its last seven. 

“We’ve had a lot of travel these last couple weeks, so going into this Philly game we want to conserve as much energy as possible,” SKC’s Benny Feilhaber said. “They are a really good team this year, so we’ll have our hands full. But we’re confident we can go in and get something out of it.” 

And the club has a right to be tired. In 11 days from Saturday’s match, SKC will have played in Couva, Trinidad and Tobago, home at Children’s Mercy Park, then away at BC Place against the Vancouver Whitecaps, before traveling cross-country to face the Union.

“Every game is very important, so we have to be able to give everything we’ve got, even though we’re running on fumes a little bit here,” Vermes said. “We’re going to have to dig down deep and muster up something with Philadelphia being as good as they are.” 

4. Keep an eye on ...
Union: It doesn’t appear that Ilsinho will return in time for Saturday’s match, leaving Herbers as a starter on the right side of the midfield. He has two goals and four assists in five starts this season.

SKC: Although Dom Dwyer has four goals in his last five matches, Feilhaber has the ability to get everyone involved. The veteran midfielder has a goal and three assists in his last four matches.

5. This and that
• The Union are 4-5-4 against SKC all-time and an even 2-2-2 at home. 

• Despite being in playoff position, the Union have yet to win back-to-back games more than once this season. The only time they’ve claimed consecutive wins was on March 12 and March 20. And that started with a win over the Crew. 

• Each scoring a goal against the Crew, Rosenberry and Herbers were the first two rookies to score in a match since Colorado Rapids’ Deshorn Brown and Dillon Powers did it in 2013.