The Optimist

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Good afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea! I’m an Optimist, and if the star-date is Thursday, June 30, 2011, that must mean we’re about to celebrate one of two things: 1. the 24th birthday of the Canadian $1 coin – commonly known as the “loonie,” or 2. another totally titillating installment of NEWS … AROUND … THE … LEAGUE.

Native Ontarian, Tristan Thompson, made hisself a mess of loonies one week ago when the Wine and Gold tabbed the Texas freshman in the 2011 NBA Draft. I can’t say how many loonies one earns for being the No. 4 overall pick, but it’s probably enough to rent all the furniture one would ever need.

Kyrie Irving, who the Cavaliers selected with the top overall pick in the 2011 Draft, stands to make a loonie or two as well.

The precocious point guard from Duke exudes a quiet confidence. And despite some smokescreens, Irving was the no-doubt No. 1 all along. Also, despite what we read in most mock drafts – (save SI’s Sam Amick) – the Cavaliers had Tristan Thompson ranked almost as highly the entire time as well.

The Cavs brain trust added the new crime-fighting dynamic duo with their first two picks of the seminal 2011 Draft. Thompson just turned 20 years old and Irving won’t turn 20 until the final month of next regular season. Cleveland is deep at both of their positions, so there won’t be undue pressure to produce immediately. (Though that’s not to say big things aren’t eventually expected of both.)

From last Thursday forward, the 2011 tandem of Irving & Thompson will be inexorably connected, like Batman & Robin, Riggs & Murtaugh, Butch & Sundance, Franklin & Bash, Bert & Ernie and Walter White & Jesse Pinkman.

As you know, the Cavaliers moved the 32nd pick for a pair of future second-rounders from Orlando. With the 54th overall selection, the Wine and Gold selected Serbian forward, Milan Macvan, whose name, while not quite as cool as “Bismack Biyombo,” is still pretty cool.

The bruising 21-year-old is a solid 6-9, 265. He looks as comfortable in the post as on the perimeter. He’s already playing at the highest level of European ball and has been loosely described as the “Serbian Kevin Love,” which is a freakish coincidence, considering that Macvan’s uncle was also instrumental in Central Europe’s rock and roll revolution in the early-70’s – scoring No. 1 hits like “Help Me, Radojka” and “(I Wish They All Could Be) Kralijevo Girls” with the Serbian supergroup, The Balkan Boys.

That’s completely true, I think.

Either way, the Wine and Gold had a stellar evening at last week’s NBA Draft – which we’ll wrap up in the first entry of this week’s N.A.T.L.

Unfortunately, more Draft talk means that, once again we won’t have the allotted time to cover some topics vital to our national interests, like the eventual troop draw-down in Afghanistan, New York’s vote on same-sex marriage or Iran’s plan to launch a live monkey into space via the Kavoshgar-5 rocket.

I would have really loved to discuss that last topic, but we’ve got no choice but to move onward and upward. So strap yourselves in, fix yourselves a banana-flavored Tang™ and prepare for lift-off in this week’s NEWS … AROUND … THE … LEAGUE ….

Feeling the Draft – After taking on some of maddest mooks in Manhattan for the past 27 NBA Drafts, do you really think a handful of guidos (guidoes? guidii?) from New Jersey are going to rattle Uncle Dave?


That’s why he’s the Commish. And once again, Uncle Dave presided over an eventful Draft Night (before letting Adam Silver clean up the second round).

The Cavaliers, Jazz, Wizards and Bobcats all had two solid first round picks – and I have to think all four teams came out of the evening as happy as the proverbial pigs in the proverbial slop. The Cavs got the top pick in the Draft and a player they coveted. The Jazz landed Enes Kanter and Alec Burks, the Wiz got Jan Vesely and Chris Singleton and Bob’s Cats tabbed Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo.

The Portland Trailblazers drafted Kyrie Irving’s backcourt mate, Nolan Smith with their first-round pick and took Ohio State’s Jon Diebler at No. 51. But they got jobbed at No. 57, selecting Congolese-born Tanguy Ngombo, who claimed to be 21 years old but was later discovered to be 34 – roughly the same age as Nate Thurmond when he joined the Cavaliers in 1975.

Other Draft night losers include me, having to watch Norris Cole – who matriculated at my beloved Concrete State University and with whom I share a birthday – be traded to the Miami Heat. That hurt.

Luckily, the mood was lightened by former All-Optimist Second Teamer, Ron Artest, who tried to steal the Draft Night spotlight by filing a petition in L.A. County Superior Court to change his name to Metta World Peace.

But everyone knows that Ron-Ron doesn’t make headlines for doing crazy stuff anymore. The entire free world knows that he’s a soup sandwich. The only way for Ron Artest to make headlines in this meshugenah world is to either do something completely sane – like grocery shopping – or to marry a Kardashian, if there are any left.

Instead, Artest was outdone by a European rookie.

I was going to write about Jan Vesely’s big Draft Night, but the clouds parted and an actual letter appeared in the cobweb-covered Optimist Mailbox this past week …

Dear Optimist,

I would have preferred to take Jan Vesely because when he was drafted by the Wizards, he stood up, kissed some SMOKIN HOT Russian chick, then immediately turned around and hugged a midget.

That guy is living MY DREAMS! I'm not kidding!!! I've actually had THAT exact same dream; except in my dream the midget gets on a chair and pours Champaign on the hot chick, Ginuwine starts singing (the dream was a while ago) and David Stern was smoking a pipe and wearing an ascot. I think he had on a skipper's hat too. Anyway, I digress; but the point is MY life was SUPPOSED to work out just like this guy's.

I guess we'll find out in a few years who drafted well. In the meantime, keep your eye on Vesely. And if you happen to hear that he broke into LeBron's house and (defecated) on his living room rug let me know; because then that cat is DEFINITELY stealing my dreams!

Go Cavs!

Columbia, SC

Dave, first of all, thanks for reading and writing in. Secondly, it’s that kind of P&V that is bound to shoot you up the Junior Optimist ranks. You’re a frothing lunatic – and I love that.

Yeah, the “Dunking Ninja” did pretty well for himself. As for his old lady, Eva Kodouskova, I’d have to agree with Sir Charles Barkley. She’s definitely marking her territory. That cat’s about to make a cuss-load of loonies.

Reach for the Sky – Before we wrapped up this week’s N.A.T.L., I wanted to congratulate young Christian Eyenga – known in certain circles as “Skyenga.”

On Wednesday, the Cavaliers announced that they had exercised the third-year contract option on the 22-year-old from the Congo. The extension keeps Christian – who averaged 6.9 points on .425 shooting in his freshman season – under contract with Cleveland through the 2012-13 season.

Skyenga is a good kid with great potential. He’ll need to define himself as a sophomore, but he’s been working hard at the Cleveland Clinic Courts all summer. When he feels more comfortable in front of the cameras, Cavalier fans will discover what a cut-up the young swingman really is.

In the meantime, like all the Kid Cavaliers, Eyenga will have the opportunity to grow with a reborn organization.

As for you readers, let’s put a bow on this bad boy and get out there and celebrate a nice, long weekend.

It’s Independence Day – a celebration of not only the day that America repelled an alien attack after one of their spaceships blew up the White House, but the day in 1776, when Paul Revere rode through the streets of Concord – warning the British by ringin’ those bells and sendin’ up those warning shots and yells that we were gonna be secure and free and that, hey, you are not going to beat our own well-armed persons individual private militia that we have.

On Monday, the hated New York Yankees come to town to meet the Tribe’s well-armed persons, and there should be some fireworks at Progressive Field – in the air, on the field and possibly in the bleachers.

I’m not advocating violence. In fact, if Yankee fans give you any lip about the 1989 pennant being tainted on accounta former closer, Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, was all juiced up on ‘roids, simply take the high road. Turn the other cheek and point to the scoreboard, where the Tribe will likely have a huge lead.

That’s all for today, nerds. I’m not sure when I’ll be checking back in. But, until then, I must implore you to …

Keep the faith, Cleveland

Su hermano,
The Optimist