Shanoff's W.U.C.: NBA Draft, Shaq, LSU, USA!

Today's Calls: Blake Griffin vs. Ricky Rubio, Sam Presti vs. David Kahn, Jonny Flynn vs. Tyreke Evans, Tyler Hansbrough vs. Brandon Jennings, Shaq vs. LeBron, U.S. vs. Spain, LSU vs. CWS, Manny Ramirez vs. John Smoltz, BCS vs. Mountain West and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Heading into tonight's NBA draft, here's what we know: ↵

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↵— The Clippers will draft Blake Griffin. ↵
↵— Perhaps that the Grizzlies will take Hasheem Thabeet. ↵

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↵Umm, yeah. That's the whole list. ↵

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↵After that? All bets are off. Sam Presti has the Thunder's pick on lockdown, but there were rumors they might send it to the Knicks for David Lee so the Knicks can have Rubio. (The Thunder can't take Rubio AND keep Russell Westbrook happy, can they?) ↵

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↵Picking fourth, the Kings seemed high on Rubio, but now it sounds like they could take Jonny Flynn or Tyreke Evans. The T-wolves have the next TWO picks and could find themselves with a brand-new backcourt, including Stephen Curry (and James Harden?) ↵

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↵Three other Really Big Story lines to Watch: ↵

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↵— How high will Tyler Hansbrough go? (Nets at 11?) ↵

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↵— How far will Brandon Jennings fall? (O/U: His age, 19) ↵

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↵— Who will win my coveted annual "Best Dressed" award? ↵

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↵For a widely dismissed draft class, there sure is a lot of uncertainty surrounding it. In lieu of talent, we will accept unpredictability. ↵

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↵ ↵

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↵NOT unpredictable: Shaq to the Cavs. It is a bigger deal as a marketing gimmick — the two biggest personalities in the league, on one team — than it is likely to get the Cavs past the Magic. (Think Shaq can stop Dwight Howard? Ha. And, as Kevin Pelton points out, the Cavs still have no one to stop Rashard Lewis, who really killed Cleveland in the playoffs.) Whether Shaq tips the balance in the East, I give the Cavs credit for truly going for broke in 2009-10 — it may be (or will be) their last chance to make a run. ↵

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↵(By the way, Shaq's Twitter feed was unnaturally silent on the trade last night — you would think this is EXACTLY the kind of thing he would break via Twitter. Unless, of course, he had no idea it was happening; he himself apparently heard about the trade through a follower on Twitter.) ↵

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↵My final mock draft: (1) Griffin (LAC); (2) Thabeet (MEM); (3) Rubio (OKC); (4) Flynn (SAC); (5) Curry (MIN); (6) Evans (MIN); (7) Harden (GSW); (8) Hill (NYK); (9) DeRozan (TOR); (10) Holiday (MIL); (11) Hansbrough (NJN); (12) Johnson (CHA); (13) Lawson (IND); (14) Williams (PHX); (15) Mullens (DET) ↵

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↵(16) Blair (CHI); (17) Henderson (PHI); (18) Young (MIN); (19) Clark (ATL); (20) Maynor (UTA); (21) Ellington (NO); (22) Casspi (POR); (23) Daye (SAC); (24) Jennings (DAL); (25) Calathes (OKC); (26) Teague (CHI); (27) Jerebko (MEM); (28) Budinger (MIN); (29) Collison (LAL); (30) Gibson (CLE) ↵

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↵U.S. Soccer Shocker: It is hard not to say "Greatest. Win. Ever." for the U.S. Soccer men's national team. The assumption was that they would get killed by the world’s No. 1 team. Instead, it was a glorious effort, certainly ONE of the best U.S. Soccer wins ever. But — BUT — it was not in World Cup play. All this does is eliminate any excuses for 2010: Knock-out round or bust. (Am I still shooting too low?) ↵

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↵LSU Wins CWS: In the end, do-or-die Game 3 wasn't all that dramatic, at least after LSU blew it open in the 6th. You may now resume not caring about college baseball until next June. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points ↵

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↵— Manny In Minors: Gives legs a test ↵

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↵— WS Rematch: Pat Burrell stings ex-team ↵

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↵— Milestones: Papi gets 1000th RBI ↵

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↵— Streaking: Tigers win sixth straight ↵

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↵— Mets rock Cards: How did THAT lineup score 11? ↵

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↵— GOTD: John Smoltz makes debut for Red Sox, A.L. ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: Josh Fields (3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI) ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: DE Julius Peppers signs 1Y/$16.7M deal with the Panthers. He may still complain — just not this week. ↵

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↵BCS Mess: Surprise! BCS presidents rejected the Mountain West's playoff plan. The only recourse for the MWC is to produce another excellent unbeaten team next season. ↵

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↵CBB Name to Know: Terrico White. Don't be surprised when White is a Top 10 pick in next year's NBA draft. ↵

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↵Condolences to family, friends and the many, many fans of legendary Iowa high school football coach Ed Thomas. What a sad story. ↵

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↵The Last Word: The annual NBA draft drinking game! ↵Cliche (No. of sips)
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↵"Upside" (1)
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↵"The next..." (1)
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↵"Best player available" (1)
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↵"Need pick" (1)
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↵"On the clock" (1)
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↵"On the board" (1)
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↵"Intangibles" (1)
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↵"Tweener" (1)
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↵"Sleeper" (-1)
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↵"Athletic"/"Ath-a-letic" (2)
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↵"Length" (2)
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↵"Should've stayed at/in..." (3) ↵
↵"Needs to hit weights" (2)
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↵"Weight problem" (3)
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↵"Good character" (3)
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↵"Questionable character" (-3)
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↵Any Euro-bashing (5)
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↵Any Duke-bashing (8)
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↵"Who knows?" (10)
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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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