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Cavs Win Lottery (Again)

May 29, 2014

The NBA held its annual draft lottery last week. Fans from cities like Philadelphia and Milwaukee expected to be rewarded for suffering through awful seasons. In fact, many media pundits thought out loud that both franchises may have been losing games on purpose in an attempt to improve their odds on lottery day.  

In the end, it did not matter as the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame long odds to win the NBA Draft Lottery. The Cavs are beginning to make a habit of winning the lottery as they have now won three of the last four lotteries. I am not sure their team ever won three of four games this past season.  

Now Cleveland has to decide amongst the likes of Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins. Or maybe they surprise us again. Last year, the Cavaliers won the lottery and selected Anthony Bennett with the number one overall pick, even though the consensus pick it seemed was Kentucky big man Nerlens Noel. Noel eventually ended up with the Philadelphia 76ers.  

Cleveland can not mess this selection up. That is why they need to stick with taking either Embiid, Parker or Wiggins. Whoever the Cavaliers select with the number one pick, it will determine their future going forward. You should not even be in the lottery when you have three number-one picks on your roster. I mean, that is a quarter of your team.  

Let me spend a second on each possible choice. Let’s take a look at each player one by one. First off, if the Cleveland Cavaliers draft Joel Embiid with the number one overall pick it will solve a need. 

Joel Embiid

There is a glaring hole at center and adding a young 19-year-old to be paired with Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving isn’t bad at all.

It actually might help develop Irving’s game to become a better well-rounded point guard.  

If Cleveland does not go with Embiid adding Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins isn’t bad either. Each of them brings a different element to the NBA. Parker is more of the scorer out of the two, while Wiggins is the better defender. Looking back at their first and only year in school, Parker and Wiggins’ numbers are almost similar. Parker averaged 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game, while Wiggins averaged 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. There is really no difference and being paired up with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters with help either player when they step on to the court.  

An interesting observer will be LeBron James as there are rumors out there that he is considering returning to Cleveland when he becomes a free agent after this season.   

NFL Faces Another Legal Challenge   

Just a few months after settling the class action lawsuit based on the concussions suffered by its players, the National Football League faces a new challenge that promises to cause the League headaches for years to come. Eight former NFL players, Richard Dent, Jim McMahon, Jeremy Newberry, Roy Green, J.D. Hill, Keith Van Horne, Ron Stone and Ron Pritchard, are named in a suit that has been filed.  

The suit will likely end up as a class action suit covering all retired players. The complaint claims that the NFL, through employees of its member teams, supplied its players with illegally obtained drugs and painkillers throughout their careers. The suit speaks of the players not being advised of the risks involved in such drug abuse. As a result, the players claim they were kept on the field although injured, and they now suffer from major medical complications including drug dependency.  

When the concussion suit was originally brought, many thought the underlying theory was legally weak because football players certainly were aware of the risks they faced from playing the game, with concussions foremost among them. I see this suit being different because it involves risks the players might not have been aware of, and, as a result, poses a much greater threat to the NFL’s bank account and reputation as America’s leading sport.  

The complaint is out there and I saw that it is filled with examples of the NFL’s alleged “drug culture.” For example, Richard Dent, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2011, “received hundreds, if not thousands, of injections from doctors and pills from trainers,” including Percodan and a combination drug including Oxycodone Hydrochloride. “No one from the NFL ever talked to him about the side effects of the medications he was being given or ‘cocktailing’ (mixing medications). Over the course of his career, Mr. Dent became dependent on painkillers, a slow process that overtook him without him being cognizant of it happening.”  

Dent’s teammate, quarterback Jim McMahon, also is mentioned as he “received hundreds, if not thousands, of injections from doctors and pills from trainers,” including Percocet, Novocain injections, amphetamines, sleeping pills and muscle relaxers. “Over the course of his career and 18 surgeries, McMahon became dependent on painkillers, a slow process that overtook him without him realizing it. At one point, he was taking as many as 100 Percocets per month, even in the off-seasons.”  

As a result of these and similar alleged practices, NFL players became addicted to painkilling drugs. As might be expected, the plaintiffs seek to be compensated for the lasting injuries they suffer.

By way of defense, the NFL undoubtedly will claim, as they did in the concussion litigation, that the players knew what was going on and participated in creating the risks they then assumed. It seems likely that NFL football players understood the short-term effects of taking the drugs. Opiates and anti-inflammatories are serious medicine. I could see them not knowing the long-term effects of using the painkillers. The NFL will have to respond to these serious allegations.  

It will be quite a court case. Of course, as in the concussion case, we may see a settlement.   

Goodell Under Fire  

The word hypocrite is being tossed around by some NFL players when they are asked about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the recent arrest of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.  

Irsay was arrested in March on suspicion of intoxicated driving and had $29,000 in cash as well as bottles of prescription drugs in his vehicle, the Associated Press reported. When asked about Irsay on Tuesday at the owners’ meeting, Goodell said “there have been no charges” and “until we have more information and more facts we will let it play out.”  

Roger Goodell

That wait-and-see response is not sitting well with players. There are comments out there centering around on how Goodell is treating owners differently than he treats players. The same quotes are talking of how the commish does not wait to see what happens in court when players are involved.  

I tend to agree and only have to point to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger back in 2010. Big Ben was suspended immediately after he was accused of sexual assault.  The subsequent investigation did not lead to any criminal charges but the suspension still took place. Irsay has been charged and there has yet to be any punishment coming out of the NFL office.









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