by Lang Whitaker

Fun to watch the NBA Draft Lotto last night when my team, the Hawks, finally had nothing riding on it.

Doris Burke seemed completely nervous last night on the telecast of the Lotto. It made for tremendous watching, though, like when she bumbled through the introductions of the various team executives (calling the Bulls’ rep Stan instead of Steve and saying he was the Executive VP of Basketball when he was actually from the business side of things). I also loved when she asked David Stern if in the wake of the OJ Mayo stuff the NBA would do better at enforcing their “regulations.” Stern quickly pointed out that the NBA doesn’t have any rules about that, that all those rules are from the NCAA. Good of her to have done her research, though.

My favorite moment of the Lotto was when it was down to the T-Wolves and Bulls, and they opened the envelope and announced that the T-Wolves would have the third pick, which of course really meant that the T-Wolves would not have the first or second pick. The camera had a shot of each team’s representatives standing there as the order was announced, and T-Wolves exec Fred Hoiberg was clutching a teddy bear that given to him by a young fan who’d undergone many surgeries and used the bear as a good luck charm. When they announced that the Wolves ended up out of the Rose/Beasley race, I thought Hoiberg was going to rip the head off that teddy bear. Now that would’ve been fan-tastic.

And Jay-Z’s presence was odd, wasn’t it? He didn’t seem to want to be there, and his interview with Doris Burke was about as compelling as her time with Stern. At one point she asked Jay what he does for the Nets and he mumbled something about being an investor. Says here he’s trying to move on up in the organization. I hope he becomes the PA announcer — sorry, Suss.

• If D’Antoni doesn’t lobby Donnie Walsh to draft Danilo Gallinari, the NBA has problems.

• I was checking out the schedule for the Lynx this morning, wondering when our girl Candice Wiggins would play her second WNBA game, and I thought there must be a typo. The Lynx played their first game two days ago, on Sunday (they won). Their second game? Next Tuesday. I don’t if WNBA teams only play one game every two weeks or what. Weird.

• Sure was surprising that the Pistons came out so flat last night, wasn’t it? I’ve never heard of a Flip Saunders team looking uninspired or confused in a big game. Unprecedented, if you ask me.

• Seriously, the way that Boston/Detroit game played out last night is exactly why I think Boston is going to win the series. The Pistons will win a game or two, but Boston feels a little underrated, especially for a team that led the NBA in regular season wins. The other thing that makes me favor Boston is that at the end of the games, when things break down, I’d rather have Pierce and KG than Billups and Rip, or whichever twosome the Pistons could run a pick-and-roll with. Maybe that’s simplistic, but still.

• Hey Jemele…still picking the Pistons?

• Was Rasheed wearing longjohns last night? And Chauncey, too? I thought we were finally past the great “stockings” nightmare of ’05-06.

• Rip: Chill. Thanks.

• And can ESPN hire a stylist to help their on-air NBA guys dress? What’s up with the new look from Jalen X?

• Hey, Cavs fans, don’t worry about it. Seriously, don’t worry. It’s all taken care of. That’s what your owner, Dan Gilbert, wants you to know if you’re concerned about the possibility (probability?) of LeBron leaving in 2010. After all, why in the world would LeBron want to play for a different franchise?

What I really don’t get is this bit from Gilbert:

“All things being equal, I do think we’re closer [to a title]. You get one or two little things go differently and you’re in the Eastern Conference finals and anything can happen from there.”

I’ve heard that a lot the last few years, the notion that once a team advances to a certain level, “anything can happen” from there.

Sure, anything can happen. But is that what you’re planning for? Because instead of looking at it as though “anything can happen,” wouldn’t it be wiser to look at a situation and consider what is likely to happen?

• I screwed up yesterday when I mentioned the email about the show featuring Mr. Ping Ping last night. The email actually came from Linkstigator Stephen, not Tim (had Duncan on my brain). A few people saw the show and left comments about it here.
Commenter “WhaHuh” watched and wrote…

it was quite sad actually. It followed 3 guys who were in consideration for smallest man in the world, the other 2 were smaller than ping ping but 1 had a dsease that meant he couldnt be measured properly and the other wasnt an adult yet (16) but it doesnt look like he would grow taller. The program makers had to pay £400 ($800) to Ping Pings brother-in-Law just to see him. He didnt want to be the smallest man in the world and apparently gets angry about it, his family is really poor so they are forcing the issue to guinness so they can make money. None of the guys wanted to be the shortest man alive, one was actually blackmailed over “personal” photos. Highlights of Ping Ping included watching him smoke, picking up/fighting with a cat and almost getting killed by fireworks (it was filmed on new years day)

I just searched YouTube but nothing yet. Can’t wait to see him fighting the cat.

• Finally, the video of the day is here. Take ’em to Church!