Barring unforeseen developments, John Wall will be the number one overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft. It’s not just his rare combination of speed, athleticism, handle, and skill at both ends of the floor, it’s that his game already translates so well the pro game (better than to the college game, actually). But who’s next? Who’ll end up as the number two selection? That question may end up as one of the most difficult decisions for whatever team ends up with it, even in such an abundant free agency year.
So who are the candidates?
- DeMarcus Cousins, Kentucky (6-11, 260 lbs.): Started off slow, but quickly becoming one of the more dominant big men in the country. 16.1 points, 10.7 rebounds, but it’s the nastiness with which he plays that makes him such a prospect. Great athleticism for a big man, but the questions remain about his mental game. Cousins has a knack for getting into fights with players and running his mouth. You have to wonder how he’ll react to pro coaching and the first time a veteran explains to him how things work in the NBA.
- Derrick Favors, Georgia Tech (6-10, 246 lbs.): The undiscovered big man, until yesterday (21 points, 18 rebounds), for a lot of people, Favors has been high on most draft boards since the season began. The big reason to target favors is his ability to work in the transition offense. He’s got terrific athleticism (arguably moreso than Cousins, and if not, at least equal), and can handle the ball well with soft hands. Yesterday may have been the start of his push for the 2nd overall pick.
- Evan Turner, Ohio State (6-7, 205 lbs.): Gasp! A junior! Someone that’s not a freshman! Egads! If John Wall’s flashes of potential have been the most impressive this year, Evan Turner’ actual performance is what has gotten him at the top of so many lists. Turner tops DraftExpress’ list as the number two overall. 19.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 5.8 assists for Turner, who has absolutely taken over most of Ohio State’s games. The only concern with him is injury. Evans’ snapped back four weeks ahead of schedule from breaking two vertebrae. I say again, he broke his back. Then came back and lit it up again, scoring 32 points in his third game back. But if DeJuan Blair’s injury history causes concerns, Turner’s might.
This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.
Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.
Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.
Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. However, those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings, and the team’s playoff chances have taken a serious hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers).
Gay was not happy in Sacramento and had said planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.
That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.
Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.
Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.
Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.
That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?
It just won’t die.
Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.
Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.
76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.
It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.
The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.
Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).