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 DraftExpress.com 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.

Warriors pose for photos with Jahlil Okafor’s dad’s ‘FREE JAH’ shirt

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.

When both join forces…

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.

It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

Harry How/Getty Images
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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.