Lenny the Loser Gets Some Company

Lenny The Loser is Back!
Baker MayfieldKevin DurantKnicksNBANBA DraftNets

Turns out I’m not the only loser. Joining me is:

Loser! Well, me.

Winner! Chet Holmgren, the No.2 pick in the NBA Draft, who was savaged by the Loser predraft, scored 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds, blocked six shots (!) dished out four assists and hit four 3’s, becoming the first player in Summer League history to post at least five blocks and hit four 3’s, according to ESPN.

Holmgren, who needs to find a place on his mantel for the NBA Summer League Most Valuable Player Trophy, which is not listed on any player’s Wiki bio under Career Highlights and Awards. In other words, we’ll see.

Winner! The Carolina Panthers. It cost the Panthers a mere fourth or fifth round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to acquire QB Baker “The Commercial Maker” Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns, according to published reports. And, the Panthers only have to pay $4.85 million of Mayfield’s $18.8-million salary.

The Panthers’ odds of winning the Super Bowl went from 125-1 to 100-1 at Caesars. Their odds of winning the NFC improved from 60-1 to 50-1 and their odds of winning the NFC South went from 12-1 to 11-1.

There is no downside here, unless…

Loser! The Panthers. Unless Mayfield proves to be as polarizing a figure in Carolina as he was in Cleveland.

Winner! The Browns. How badly did they want to jettison Mayfield? They’re eating $10.5 million of the QB’s salary and settled for a mid-round pick in 2024. Mayfield can make up the other $3.45 million in incentives. Who did he hire, famous divorce attorney Laura Wasser, or what?!

Loser! The Browns starting QB will be Deshaun Watson – eventually. He almost certainly will be suspended by the NFL for some amount of games after the league completes its investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against Watson. Cleveland’s backup QB is Jacoby Brissett whose won-loss record is 28-32. Cleveland is in win now mode. If Watson’s suspension is lengthy, winning in a division boasting the Bengals, Steelers and Ravens, won’t be easy.

Loser! Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. The Brooklyn Nets.

It’s like the hokey pokey.

Kyrie out. Kyrie in. Kyrie out. Kyrie in. KD in. KD out. KD in. KD out.

Kevin Durant listed the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat as favored destinations. The Nets can’t trade him to an Eastern Conference contender, can they? Wherever he lands, the Nets will surely have a stockpile of No.1 draft choices.

 The 2023 or 2024 NBA Draft could look like this: 1. Nets. 2. Knicks. 3. Nets. 4. Knick. You get it

Loser! Nets fans, which truly stinks. The average season ticket price has jumped by $144 since pre-pandemic, according to published reports. When the Nets roster included Irving, Durant and James Harden, well, fans are always the ones who get shafted. You get what you don’t pay for.

Now Nets fans get a roster that will consist of Irving, if he stays, Ben Simmons, if he stays healthy and wants to play, and about 10 players making less than $10 million each. The Beastie Boys must consider writing a song about the pain in Brooklyn. No Playoffs till Brooklyn stops acting the fool.

Winner!  The Big Ten, which by adding UCLA and USC, now stretches from coast to coast and includes the second largest media market – Los Angeles.

It now has one of the most anticipated college football matchups – USC vs Rutgers – true. Can’t wait to see what happens when Traveler, the USC horse mascot, which carries the Trojan warrior, meets Lord Nelson, the Rutgers horse mascot, which carries the Scarlet Knight.

USC has been using Traveler since 1961 as opposed to Lord Nelson (1978). But his, uh, Lordship is the only equine mascot to have been called for a penalty. In a 1994 game against Army, Lord Nelson broke free and raced down the sidelines. He was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Winner! The Celtics. If Boston had a true point guard, it’s easy to make the case that the city is still cleaning up Sam Adams cans after an NBA Championship parade. The Celtics averaged 16 turnovers per game against the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

As much as we love Marcus Smart, he’s not a true point guard. The Celtics got one on the cheap. They traded for Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon, 29, giving up backup, journeyman center Daniel Theis, 2021 first-round pick Aaron Nesmith, who has yet to distinguish himself, and a 2023 first-round pick, which could be No. 30 if Boston wins it all. In other words, bupkis.

Not only does Brogdon have career averages of 15.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists and shoots 37.6 percent on 3’s and 88.1-percent from the line, but he was reelected to a three-year term as a vice president on the NBA Players Association’s executive committee. Good player. Sharp cookie. Win. Win.

Winner!? The Knicks. One could make a case that if the Knicks had a point guard they might have made the playoffs. Enter Jalen Brunson, 25, who has career averages of 11.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and shoots 37.3-percent on 3’s and 80-percent from the line. Brunson, a Villanova product, is a class act.

Loser!? The Knicks. Is a career backup worth $104 million over four years? That makes Brunson Burner the 14th highest paid point guard in the NBA, more than, well, Brogdon, Lonzo Ball and Fred Van Fleet. And at 6-foot-1, Brunson is somewhat of a defensive liability.

Loser! Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau. The defensive-minded Tibs now has a starting backcourt of Brunson and Evan Fournier. Fournier is French for yield sign. His defensive rating last season was 112.9. Boston’s Jaylen Brown, for comparison sake, was 107.5

Winner! Jay Wright. After creating a mini dynasty at Villanova, the 60-year-old Wright retired. For now. But his former point guard, Brunson, is with the Knicks. Wright might be a perfect fit in New York. He’d have to ditch cheesesteaks for pizza, but that’s an upgrade.

Winner! The Big Ten, which by adding UCLA and USC, now stretches from coast to coast and includes the second largest media market – Los Angeles.

 The Big Ten also has one of the most anticipated college football matchups – USC vs Rutgers. Can’t wait to see what happens when Traveler, the USC mascot horse that carries the Trojan warrior, meets Lord Nelson, the Rutgers mascot horse that carries the Scarlet Knight.

USC has been using Traveler since 1961 as opposed to Lord Nelson (1978). But his, uh, Lordship is the only equine mascot to have been called for a penalty.  In a 1994 game against Army, Lord Nelson broke free and raced down the sidelines. He was called for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Until next time, the Loser wishes everyone a winning week.