The biggest challenge of this week’s Tap was figuring out which topics to touch on. It has been a very momentous week in the world of sports, from LeBron changing time zones, to soccer actually mattering, to the balance of power in the NBA being overly examined (Spoiler alert: It’s in the Bay area). We’ll start with the topic that everyone seems to have an opinion on.

LABron is a Reality, But Golden State is a Fantasy (Team)

Depending on which side of the aisle you’re on, you may really care less about LeBron joining the Lakers. I am starting to (gasp) believe he may be in G.O.A.T. status, which makes this move all the more interesting. The MJ versus LeBron debate is for another day though. The question most people are debating (ad nauseum on every channel) is whether the Lakers can defeat the Warriors.

The answer is no.

…Not yet anyway.

This move was not made in a vacuum. If the Lakers don’t end up trading for Kawhi or making any other crazy moves, they’ll enter 2019 free agency with around $37 million to play with. That is a lot of cheddar. LA has way more flexibility than Cleveland or Houston or even Philly could have offered. So personally, I think they’re going to end up pulling in two stars next year and give Golden State a run for their money. And isn’t that what most people want? You might be a LeBron hater but I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind wanting to watch another five years of Golden State running through the league. This is just bad for humankind.

“Yeah but Golden State didn’t cheat or anything.”

Correct. But they also added an MVP to their team after breaking the league record for wins. Durant is an all-time beta for that move. Sure, he won a couple of titles. But he’ll always be that guy who lost to a team and then immediately joined them. Durant will go down as the softest MVP in the history of league, and he’ll always be playing on Steph’s team as long as he is there. And literally as I was typing this Demarcus Cousins signed with them too! I want nothing more than someone to sink this ship of mouth-piece chewing, groin-kicking, twitter-burner-account-having, wrong-kind-of-cocky collection of jabronis.

Which makes it all the more important that some actual competition is created. I love my Pistons, but more on that in a little. For the time being, LeBron gives the NBA one of the best chances at dethroning the villains from the Bay.

Looking into my Lakers’ crystal ball, I think they’ll use that cap space to lure a couple bonafide stars into the fold. I think Kawhi ends up signing in LA. They’ll resist the urge to trade for him this year and wait it out. And I think they have enough cap space to make some moves and sign another superstar to the fold as well. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Jimmy Butler will make the move from Minnesota. Kemba Walker is a good possibility, but I think they’ll opt for another 3-and-D type player to help defend the perimeter against Houston and Golden State. LeBron, Kawhi, and Jimmy on one team? That will certainly allow for some versatility on the wings. Throw in a couple stretch bigs (prospects like Mo Wagner who they just drafted) and a veteran point guard who can shoot and you have some pieces to defend GS and score with the best of them.

The point is, the Lakers are likely BACK-back very soon. It is just more likely in 2019 than 2018.

The World Cup Bracket of Death

Soccer is boring.

It’s true… Kind of.

If you only watched the first 80 minutes of Spain versus Russia, then you likely saw a team passing the ball back in forth like a real life version of Techmo Bowl… for soccer. It was rough. But there have been some absolutely incredible games so far in this tournament, and I’m definitely not a soccer “regular.”

With some of the pre-Cup favorites already being knocked out (Germany, Spain, Argentina, Portugal), its looking more and more like the Cup Final is going to be a David v Goliath matchup. There are some extremely strong teams (France, Brazil, Belgium, Uruguay) on one side of the bracket, and some longshots (Russia, Croatia, Sweden, Switzerland) all lumped together on the other.

I’m going to put it in writing now—I’m predicting a France versus Croatia final with France coming out on top. If you don’t ever watch soccer like 90% of the country then now is the time to check it out. It’s like March Madness for the rest of the world. And France’s Mbappe is only 19 and seriously fun to watch. Broaden your horizons! Or watch to laugh every time a player falls to the ground in pain over another player slightly brushing against them. It’s good TV.

The Pistons May Be a 4-seed This Year

Lost in all this LeBron and Warriors talk is the fact that the east is wide open again!

Kind of.

Boston and Philly aren’t likely going anywhere, and Toronto still has all of their players from a 59-win campaign but I’m feeling optimistic people.

Seriously though. The Pistons have had some extremely bad luck with injuries and the timing of those injuries over the past few years. If Reggie stayed healthy, we likely still have SVG as a head coach and Blake Griffin is probably still a Clipper for life.

But that’s a bit of a fantasy world now, isn’t it? The real life scenario is showing a talented veteran team with a reigning Coach of the Year leading the way. I can truly envision a scenario where this team wins close to 50 games and is a top 3-4 seed in the East. We’ll need to see some leaps forward from Kennard (if healthy) and Johnson (sound familiar?), but the Pistons are easily one of the more talented teams in the East now. Drink the Kool-aid with me! We may not be in title-contention for awhile, but I think we can make some waves this year.

Alright, that’s all for this week. Until next time Detroiters. Who’s thirsty?

What’s on Tap?

Ommegang Pale Sour, 6.9%

Look, I know it’s the week of the 4th. Everyone is likely drinking for volume and rocking stars and stripes everywhere. In all reality, my beer of the week will probably be Pabst Blue Ribbon as I take down 20 in the sun somewhere. But if you love beer (particular sours) you have to try this Sour from Ommegang. It’s not too sour. Not too dry. Great flavor and, here’s the kicker, it’s nearly 7% so it’ll put you in the right place. Grab a sixer to go with the 30-racks at the lake this week. Have a great 4th folks.

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RJ Krul

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