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The Downbeat #1314 - The End is Nigh Edition

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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

For those of you that were worried, ESPN is reporting that Andrew Wiggins will declare for the NBA Draft today. Wiggins is the first of the projected top college players to declare, which makes sense. Hopefully this sets the stage for the rest of the top players to follow.

As we draw nearer to the end of the season, we'll start to see more looks back at preseason predictions. The guys over at SI's Point Forward Blog have done theirs, and there is some interesting things mentioned. There isn't much to do with the Jazz (everyone expected them to be bad), but there is mention of RoY predictions. To be precise, Rob Mahoney says this about his prediction of MCW as RoY (His midseason award pick):

That would be a reasonable pick, still, though over the second half of the season I’ve come to prefer Orlando’s Victor Oladipo. The margin between the two candidates is pretty thin; both are relatively inefficient, turnover-prone players with reasonable production and much left to learn. Oladipo, though, is a bit more dependable and accountable as a defender with slightly better shot selection. That might not be good enough to win him the Rookie of the Year award in any other season, but for this class I think it gives him the edge on Carter-Williams and Utah’s Trey Burke.

My guess is that Oladipo wins it, but you can't discount Trey. It could be a close race between all three.

Another thing that caught my eye was all the disappointment. There were teams like the Bucks and Pistons that had high hopes of making the playoffs, only to find themselves as two of the worst teams in the already putrid Eastern Conference. So, I pose this question: Is it better to know what to expect (like the Jazz being bad) than to have high hopes, only to have them dashed?

Two interesting things happened yesterday:

First, Sam Amick reported that the results of Andrew Bogut's MRI showed that he has an injury to his groin and will miss at least a week. This is pretty terrible news for the Warriors. Bogey has been instrumental to the Warrior's defense, and with the Dubs in a tight playoff race, it could have immense impact on their positioning. Right now, the Warriors are just 2 games ahead of the 9th seed Grizzlies, and 1.5 games ahead of Phoenix and Dallas. The implications for the Jazz being, if the Warriors fall out of the playoffs, it improves their draft position, which the Jazz own. If you start Bogut's week from yesterday, it means he will miss 4 games-

@Dallas 4/1 (this is a big one)

@San Antonio 4/2

Sacramento 4/4

Utah 4/6

Second, (and Amar will go into greater detail in the WYWS) the Lakers beat the Suns in L.A., last night. The Jazz still hold firm with the 4th worst record, having one more loss than Boston. After the win, Nick Young said, "Welcome to the Player Haters Ball," which is AWESOME.

With that, who are the top picks for "Player Haters?" These are the teams that will still try to win to the last day of the season. Some potential Player Haters:

Kings- They have been trying to win all season. This team has some decisions to make in the offseason (Isaiah Thomas) and their owners want to give the fans some encouraging wins. Right now they have 25 wins, and I'm certain they want to beat last years win total of 28. They have games against the Pelicans, Lakers, and Warriors remaining. They could be the Jazz's best friends.

Pelicans- With their pick set to go to the Sixers, they have no incentive to lose. They have games against the Kings, Nuggets, and Jazz remaining.

With the playoffs approaching, and the Jazz definitely out, who will you root for? The Western Conference playoffs will likely be really good, but I find it difficult to really get behind any of the teams in the same conference as the Jazz. In the Eastern Conference I go full underdog. The Pacers have been my EC favorite since the days of Rik Smits and the Davis's (Antonio and Dale), but with them being up at the top, I've had to change up my backing. This year, I'm going for the Bobcats and Raptors.