Rookie Rankings, Week 22: Not the Worst Draft Ever. Not Yet, Anyway

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Anthony BennettThere’s been some talk lately that the 2013 draft could be the worst in NBA history.

We could wait more than a year before jumping into the adjoining worlds of shortsightedness and hyperbole, couldn’t we?

Yes, this was a bad draft. We’ve said it ourselves several times. For the first time since 2001, the top pick is going to average less than five points per game. For the first time since 1988, the Rookie of the Year is probably going to be a double-digit selection.

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In Their Own Words: 2014 McDonald’s All-Americans Describe Their Talents

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You’ve heard the saying: “The kids are alright.”

Well, these kids are more than alright.

As the NBA’s ever-evolving landscape of perimeter-oriented and multifaceted skill sets take the basketball world by storm on a nightly basis, the youth who aspire to compete against their heroes (in 2015 or beyond, thanks to the one-and-done rule) have keenly paid attention to the changes in the game and what they mean for their own personal development as players.

SheridanHoops caught up with nine of the 24 McDonald’s All-Americans at Tuesday’s media day to discuss their games: 

Tweet of the Night: Kobe Bryant vents about Lakers-Timberwolves blowout, says NCAA game is easier to watch

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kobeOn some nights, the Los Angeles Lakers can surprise and win you over with a pleasing style of play where the ball moves constantly and shots are falling from everywhere.

Most of the time, however, they allow teams to score a ridiculous amount of points and look absolutely horrible, and that was the case on Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Tweet of the Night: Los Angeles Lakers Scorch The New York Knicks, Twitter Reacts

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Tuesday night’s showdown between the Knicks and Lakers was a bit one-sided.

The New York Knicks, who had been surging towards the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with a recent string of eight straight wins, have (seemingly) fallen flat on their faces.

If their recent fourth-quarter collapse against the hapless (and Kyrie Irving-less) Cleveland Cavaliers wasn’t bad enough, they travelled to Los Angeles for a shellacking at the hands of the short-handed Lakers.

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May: The Future of Four Floundering Flagship Franchises

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We are about to witness what may be a first in the long history of the NBA. For the first time, four of the JacksonKnicksleague’s flagship franchises could well be out of the playoffs.

OK, the Knicks aren’t technically out of the race in the Hindenburg Conference, but they have a lot of ground to make up on Atlanta – four games in the loss column with 13 to play. The Celtics, Lakers and 76ers all are making plans for the 2014 draft lottery and the riches it may (or may not) provide.

Twenty years ago, the Celtics, Lakers and Sixers all missed the postseason, but the Pat Riley-coached Knicks made it all the way to the NBA Finals, losing in seven games to the Houston Rockets. That remains the best Knicks’ playoff run since the 1973 championship season (moreso than their surprising appearance in the 1999 Finals, where they were decided underdogs to the Spurs and lost in five.)

But at no time since 1949, when the Lakers entered the NBA in Minneapolis, and the 76ers came in as the Syracuse Nationals, have all four of these marquee teams been on the outside looking in when the playoffs arrived. (The Celtics and Knicks started in 1946.)