Shanoff's WUC: Wall Is Ultimate Lottery Win

Today's Calls: Mikhail Prokhorov vs. the NBA Lottery, Kobe vs. the Suns, Orlando vs. Boston's D, LeBron vs. Clippers fans, John Calipari vs. Worldwide Wes, Hanley Ramirez vs. Lollygagging, Yankees vs. Red Sox, Reds hotness vs. Dodgers hotness, Harrison Barnes vs. 2011 NBA Draft, Big Ten vs. Syracuse, Lane Kiffin vs. HBO and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: Forget the LeBron Lottery for a moment, thankfully. There is an alternative. ↵

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↵The John Wall Lottery. ↵

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↵That is the prize in tonight's NBA Lottery -- the most electrifying college guard talent since Allen Iverson, an instant superstar for whatever team gets him, perhaps even a lure for LeBron. ↵

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↵The Nets are ready for him. They have the most Ping-Pong balls, a fiesty Russian billionaire for an owner (in attendance!), a gazillion dollars in cap space and a desperate need for marketability. ↵

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↵No offense, but Evan Turner was an outstanding college player and the clear No. 2 pick, but he lacks Wall's athleticism. I don't think there is even a debate over what a team should do with the No. 1 overall pick. ↵

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↵(If a team set at PG -- like the Jazz or Hornets -- wins the Lottery, taking Turner seems reasonable, but the better course would be to trade spots with the No. 2 team.) ↵

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↵There are a couple of other intriguing prospects -- big guys like Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins -- but nothing on the order of magnitude of Wall. ↵

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↵Some years, the NBA Lottery is a crap-shoot. This year, some franchise will be transformed. If you can't win titles immediately, cachet is the next best thing. ↵

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↵Kobe drops 40 (what knee problems?) and the Lakers blow out the Suns to start their Western Conference finals series. I doubt every game will be this easy (LA will lose a couple in PHX). ↵

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↵Celtics-Magic Game 2: The winning formula is so simple for Orlando: Just make a couple more 3s. Here is another simple idea: If the Magic lose a 2nd game at home, this series is over. ↵

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↵(The Suns' problems were not unlike the Magic's on Sunday: Both teams were 5/22 from 3-point range, stymied by a substantial uptick in one-series-from-the-Finals defensive intensity from the past two NBA champs.) ↵

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↵LeBron Watch: Really, Clippers fans? Really? ↵

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↵Meanwhile: Cleveland Browns "star" Josh Cribbs lobbies for LeBron to stay. Weighing in on LeBron is the new Q-rating booster for C-list athletes, because you're guaranteed to get coverage about it. (Reminds me of random football folks who looked for an image boost a few months ago by weighing in on Tim Tebow.) ↵

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↵Are LeBron and Calipari a package deal? Cal insists they are not, that he is happy at Kentucky. Let's get real: If the Bulls broke the bank with an offer AND offered the chance to coach LeBron, Calipari would take it. (But I still think LeBron won't go to Chicago, and it is unlikely the Bulls would be willing to pay top dollar for Calipari.) ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: For many fans, there is no more serious offense for a baseball player -- not PEDs, not corking bats, not tipping pitches -- than lollygagging. That makes this an image-killer for Hanley. ↵

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↵More: ↵

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↵• Hot: Reds roll on. ↵

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↵• Yanks-Sox: Walk-off wild one. ↵

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↵• Pujols bats clean-up: Cards clean up. ↵

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↵• Streaking: Dodgers win 8th straight. ↵

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↵• Fantasy Stud: Edwin Jackson (8 IP, 12 Ks, 0 ER). ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Andre Johnson, arguably the best WR in the league, is insisting on a new contract, even though he has 5 years left on his old one. It's all fine to skip the "voluntary" workouts; we'll see where he stands in late July. ↵

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↵CFB Offseason: Want to bet that Michigan's "self-imposed" penalties for violations by Rich Rodriguez and the coaching staff won't be particularly aggressive? Frankly, I'm not sure what they're worried about; the NCAA has proven that it will never really punish the marquee football franchises, so there should be very little incentive for them to be particularly harsh on themselves. (But to the extent they are sincere in the effort, I commend them for being transparent about their findings and penalties.) ↵

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↵Big Ten Expansion: Syracuse? I like it. ↵

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↵(By the way, don't expect anything to happen this week at Big Ten conference meetings.) ↵

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↵CBB Offseason: Mike D continues his offseason preview with a look at key freshmen to watch next season. If you want a preview of the No. 1 pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, keep an eye on UNC wing Harrison Barnes. ↵

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↵Tiger Watch: He will play the British Open. Wonder if European hecklers will be more aggressive than the entirely benign fans in the U.S. ↵

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↵The Last Word: "I never once told any of those players that I would be there forever." -- Lane Kiffin, to HBO Real Sports, on his one-year stay at Tennessee. It is a pretty big credibility gap between a single season and "forever." ↵

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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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