NBA Draft: Lottery pick Jan Vesely pulls out of NBA Draft, to stay in Serbia

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Jan Vesely has chosen Serbia over the NBA.

For now, anyway. Vesely was the one sure lottery pick left of this year’s crop of international players announced for the NBA draft, possibly the only one to go in the first round. However he and his agent told that he has decided to stay overseas this season.

Playing in the NBA has been my dream since I started to play basketball. But, to be ready for this, I feel now is the time for me to continue to work hard to realize that goal in near future.

According to DraftExpress, who has scouted him in person, Vesely is a fantastic athlete and a classic European big man in the Nowitzki/Gasol mode — he’s 6’11” guy who can fill the lane on the break and shoots well from the midrange. He also loves to finish at the rim with big dunks. However, at age 20 the Cezch Republic native is still somewhat raw with his shot creation and the ball handling needed to do that at the NBA level.

It may not be the worst call. The European players who have not succeeded here have tended to be ones who came to America too young and could not adjust. He plays for BC Partizan in Belgrade, a team that plays in a high level of European competition; he is getting paid and getting good seasoning.

He is expected to be part of next year’s draft, although if the labor situation in the NBA is not cleared up by a year from now (and it likely will not be) he may stay in Europe longer. A number of players like Vesely may choose to stay and get paid one more year overseas rather than get drafted into a lockout situation here.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.