John Wall? Gone. Evan Turner? Gone. Derrick Favors? Gone. Cole Aldrich? Gone. Monroe, Johnson and Udoh? Gone, gone and gone.
For NBA fans who want to see the league’s future stars, the Final Four is slim pickings. The top college stars went the way of your bracket.
But there are still a couple things to watch, according to Joe Treutlein, Assistant Director of Scouting for DraftExpress.com.
In the first round, it will be interesting to see Duke’s Kyle Singler go up against the athletic, quick and aggressive West Virginia defense, Treutlein said. In an ideal world (for him at least) Singler would be a stretch four at the NBA level — and those are trendy, everybody wants a big that can shoot threes and unbalance a defense. However, he had not been an impressive, explosive athlete at the college level. How he deals with a more intense defense will be interesting.
The same goes for Gordon Hayward if the Final is Butler against West Virginia (a matchup that has CBS executives weeping in advance because of the ratings). Treutlein helped us break down Hayward before, a deceptively good athlete who can score at the rim or from three, a real shooter, who would be challenged by the West Virginia defense.
After those two….
“Everyone knows what Da’Sean Butler is. Everyone knows what Jon Scheyer is,” Treutlein said.
Well, um, we can always still listen just to hear Gus Johnson’s call… wait, what do you mean he isn’t doing it? Are you kidding? Forget it. I give up.
Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.
This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.
The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.
Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.
Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.
Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”
You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.
Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.
The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.
And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:
Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.
That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.
Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.
ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.
After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:
- Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
- Westbrook: “Nah.”
- Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
- Westbrook: “What exchange?”
- Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
- Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”
This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.
That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.
I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.