Urban: Impressions of Philly


Urban: Impressions of Philly

Oct. 17, 2010
Mychael Urban

PHILADELPHIA -- Im not in the habit of arriving at the ballpark five-plus hours before the first pitch, I swear. In the playoffs its particularly silly; the clubhouses, open 3 12 hours before a regular-season game, arent open at all before postseason games. Today is an exception, though, because were in Philly, and the Eagles are playing, and the Eagles play across the street from the Phillies, and traffic and blah and blah and blah. You dont care about my sad little reporter story, do you?Dude, youre covering the Giants -- the team that fostered your love for baseball as a child -- in the National League Championship Series. Im at home in Morgan Hill, battling my 3.5 kids for the remote on NFL Sunday and trying to tune out my nagging spouse, who swears taking the recycling bins to the curb is of the utmost importance at this very moment. Quitcherbitchin.Fair enough, but Im not complaining. Seriously. I understand that Im a lucky man, and that point was hammered home last night at 2:22 a.m., Philly time.Philly is a 2 a.m. town; last call is at 1:40 or so. Thats a problem for many of us in the media when were covering a game that starts late, goes three hours, and requires your presence on multiple postgame platforms before youre set free for the night.Heres something you need to know: Winding down is an essential part of being a sportswriter, and thats what I am at the core. Your brain is on fire from the moment the game starts until two to three hours after it ends, and its hard to douse the flame. But you must -- and theres no better way to douse a flame than with liquids, ifyouknowwhatImeanandIthinkyoudo. Anyway, we got out of Citizens Bank Park at 1 a.m. last night (this morning), and thanks to our Philly-raised producer, whom youd think would have a pretty good handle on the ins and outs of downtowns one-way streets, we spent more time idling in traffic than moving while winding our way back to our hotel, and we didnt get back until 1:50 a.m.But thanks to our Philly-raised producer, who redeemed himself the way Bob Brenly did in that crazy game at the Stick way back when, I was treated to one of the most surreal, cool, and plain freaky nights of my career.Theres an after-hours place in downtown Philly, two blocks from our hotel, called the Pen & Pencil. Its a members-only club, and all you need to be a member-for-a-night, our producer told us, is some sort of proof that you make your living with -- duh -- a pen or a pencil.So we walked the two blocks and found the nondescript door. I could have been the entrance to an alley, to a run-down apartment, to an hourly-rate motel, to an untimely death. But it wasnt. It was the door to heaven.It opened, we walked in. And there stood another door. You half-expected a shaft to open at eye level, with some Marty Feldman type asking for the password. Instead, a burly, only-in-Philly badass opened the door and quizzically eyes the obvious out-of-town rubes.Who you here with?I didnt have an answer. But I had my NLCS credential, and that meant I was in. We all were in. And as soon as we got in, we saw and exchanged can-you-believe-this greeting with a bunch of other media types from the Bay Area. And we all had an absolute blast. Not all of us had the boiled-in-a-crock-pot hot dogs that the producer told us about, though. He tends to tell us that all things Philly are the best (insert noun here) ever! But homeboy dogged me -- pun half-intended -- and ate the last one, removing him from consideration for best host ever. But thats beside the point. The point, at this point, should be clear. The Pen & Pencil is the best late-night spot wait for it EVER!

Why are Warriors willing to pay for picks? Lacob: 'If you just do the math...'

Why are Warriors willing to pay for picks? Lacob: 'If you just do the math...'

On Thursday night, the Warriors saw an opportunity and they struck.

Golden State paid the Bulls $3.5 million (the max amount allowed) for the rights to Jordan Bell.

After making the selection, Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group asked Lacob: "This is the fourth time you’ve bought a pick, the first two didn’t work out so great. How easy is it for you to just keep doing this?"

"Easy," Lacob answered. "We want to always be incredibly aggressive and get better. We only have a few players under contract, as Bob (Myers) pointed out.

"We tried really hard. It was really hard this year. Harder than it sounds."

Last year, the Warriors entered the draft without a pick but paid the Bucks $2.4 million for the rights to Pat McCaw -- the 38th pick.

This year, the Warriors entered the draft without a pick but acquired Bell -- the 38th pick.

"It’s amazing that we were able to do it, second year in a row," Lacob said. "Thirty-eight’s a lucky number, I guess."

After the Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the Finals, ESPN's Darren Rovell reported that sweeping the Cavs (and not at least getting a third home game in the series) would cost the Warriors over $12 million.

Golden State did not sweep Cleveland, and did get a Game 5 at Oracle Arena.

In fact, a fan reportedly paid $133,000 for two floor seats.

Making the extra money did not impact the Warriors' decision to buy a draft pick.

"We would do it regardless," Lacob told Kawakami. "We just think that it’s money well spent if you just do the math.

"If you are good at picking players, it’s just a lot cheaper way to get a player than otherwise. How else are you going to do it?"

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

The Warriors have rest of NBA scrambling, shuffling, trading, posturing

The Warriors have rest of NBA scrambling, shuffling, trading, posturing

OAKLAND -- For the Warriors, the NBA Draft was about two things: Waiting for the right time to buy the rights to a player they love and being entertained, for the fourth consecutive day, by the earnest efforts of the league’s underclass.

Not that they would put it quite so impolitely.

“It’s a competitive league. All we do is try to get better,” president/general manager Bob Myers said late Thursday night, insisting that the Warriors are too immersed in their own challenges to look down their noses at the other 29 teams.

But the truth is inescapable. This is the week that touched off the flailing of franchises feeling particularly feeble and futile in the wake of Warriors destructive run through the postseason.

The Warriors were 16-1, the best record in NBA postseason history. Their average win margin, 13.5 points, is No. 2 all time. They demolished LeBron James and the Cavaliers in The Finals, after the Cavs had annihilated all comers in the Eastern Conference. Part III of The Trilogy was by far the most lopsided.

And the Warriors followed that up by buying a second-round pick to get, by most accounts, a first-round talent in Oregon’s Jordan Bell.

[POOLE: Warriors stay ready, strike gold amid the 2017 NBA Draft scramble]

The rest of the league is determined to fight back and, therefore, is scrambling and shuffling and trading and posturing in an effort to close the gap on the champs. Those teams, staring up at the Warriors, have to do something to feel productive today while trying to keep their fans from giving up on tomorrow.

No team did more draft-night hustling than their neighbors in Sacramento, who after using their No. 5 pick to select the player they coveted most, Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, traded the No. 10 overall pick to Portland for Nos. 15 and 20, choosing North Carolina forward Justin Jackson and Duke forward Harry Giles.

The 76ers chose Markelle Fultz, believing he is the final piece to assembling the best young team in the East. The folks in Philly, who avoided the team for nearly a decade, suddenly are on board, buying 14,000 season tickets -- a franchise record.

The Lakers grabbed UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, who will generate an enthusiasm missing at Staples Center since the best days of Kobe Bryant.

The Timberwolves and Bulls completed a major trade, with Minnesota getting All-Star guard Jimmy Butler in exchange for guards Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, with the teams also swapping draft picks.

This all followed several moves made earlier this week, beginning with the Cavaliers dumping general manager David Griffin precisely seven days after being run over by the Warriors in The Finals.

Griffin’s dismissal preceded by a day the Hawks trading once-imposing Dwight Howard to the Hornets, as well as the Lakers dealing D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Nets for All-Star center and Stanford product Brook Lopez.

Meanwhile, as the Warriors examine their various free-agent contingencies, so much more is percolating around the league:

-Trade talk swirls about Pacers All-Star forward Paul George, who is destined to get out of Indiana, perhaps sooner than later.

-The Cavs are searching, so far without much success, for a team willing to engage in serious negotiations regarding power forward Kevin Love.

-Knicks top executive Phil Jackson, committed to a mission of unknown purpose, announced he’s now willing to shop 21-year-old wunderkind Kristaps Porzingis.

-The Spurs are ready to move on from LaMarcus Aldridge and Danny Green.

-The Clippers -- already with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and JJ Redick set to become free agents -- reportedly are willing to ship out DeAndre Jordan.

-The Rockets seemingly are ready to swap anybody not named James Harden.

-And the Celtics also are known to be on the market, though that is not unusual when Danny Ainge is sitting in the corner office.

The Warriors are the cause for such a mad frenzy, and the sight of their competitors making mad dashes toward their respective futures is the effect. They are two cuts above and that’s tough to take in a league of men who may not mind losing but do not care to be humiliated.

“We never looked at it as far as catching anybody, or people catching up,” Myers said. “Our job is to try to get better each day. And whether that’s through personnel, coaching, developing our players or us in the front office learning and growing.

“I guess I don’t view us as ahead of everyone,” he added. “I know it’s been mentioned by everybody else, but once you start thinking that, you’re in trouble. You’ve to start believing and keep pushing.”