Five Things for May 21st: Pistons Lose Out on Lottery Pick
1. Maybe this is a fitting end to Joe Dumars' tenure as Pistons GM, and further evidence that it should have ended a long time ago. In the summer of 2012, the Pistons sent a protected first-round pick with Ben Gordon to the Bobcats for Corey Maggette. The reason they gave up that asset for Maggette (who played 18 games and averaged 14.3 minutes per game) was to clear cap space to sign Josh Smith last offseason. If you're keeping score at home, Dumars made a mistake (signing Gordon to a ridiculous deal), made a trade to try and get out from under that mistake (a mistake) and clear cap space to sign Josh Smith to a long-term deal (a mistake).
The consequence is that the Pistons will not have a 1st round pick in the best draft in the last 10 years. This draft is littered with instant-impact players would fill needs on this mismatched roster. Welcome to Detroit Stan Van Gundy. Have fun.
The Cleveland Cavaliers won their third first overall pick in the last four seasons. They could go three different directions. If Joel Embiid's back is healthy, I personally would pick him. Rim protectors with that upside do not come around very often. However, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker would both be great options, and I wouldn't blame them for going with any of the three.
2. If you are going to hit Justin Verlander, your best chance is to do it early in the game. The Indians did just that, scoring five runs in the first two innings on their way to a 6-2 win. JV struggled with his command, throwing 63 strikes and 53 balls (pitchers typically want to throw twice as many strikes as balls). He got behind hitters and threw some fastballs right in bad locations, like the ones crushed by David Murphy and Michael Bourn. Detroit's 4-6 hitters combined for an 0-9 with five strikeouts. The teams will wrap up their series with a day game today.
3. LeBron James stepped up in the 4th quarter as the Heat tied up their series with the Pacers. LBJ and Dwayne Wade combined Miami's last 20 points as they avoided trailing this series 2-0. Paul George had a rough night, shooting 4-16 from the field and apparently "blacking out" after colliding with Dwayne Wade.
4. The NHL had a night off, but gets back to it tonight with the Kings playing the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford has been excellent these playoffs, and will look to continue it tonight against one of the best goalies in the world. I like LA tonight.
5. Minnesota has been awarded the Super Bowl in 2018. The city is in the process of building a $1 billion dollar stadium.