NBA Draft Lottery: Timberwolves and Kings fall into tough choices

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Tyreke Evans head sank on the desk.

Minnesota General Manager David Kahn was described as “pissed” by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress after he saw his results.

For every winner, there must be a loser. Yin and yang. If the Wizards and Sixers vault up the NBA Draft board, someone must fall.

Minnesota had the second best chance of landing the top pick in the draft, Sacramento was third on that list. They will now draft fourth and fifth — in a draft where the top two picks are locks and then the questions start to come.

And man, do Minnesota and Sacramento have questions now. And options — there are reports Houston and other teams are looking to move up and get one of the big men available (DeMarcus Cousins, for example).

But both teams have fallen from getting what they wanted to needing to decide if they want what they can get. Losing sucks like that.

The Timberwolves need some help but they are overloaded at a couple spots — point guard (at least they don’t have to deal with that now) and at the power forward spot. The Wolves are already starting a combo four/five guy in Al Jefferson at center (he should be a forward) and they have Kevin Love.

And the best player on the board for them is Cousins — the freshman power forward out of Kentucky. Except they don’t really need him. Then they’d have a backlog somewhere else, plus there are questions of if Cousin fits the triangle offense well. Minnesota could take someone like Wesley Johnson out of Syracuse or Al-Farouq Amino out of Wake Forest, guys who are forwards, but neither of them are upgrades over Corey Brewer who they have now.

So do you take Cousins — the best player available — and figure it out later. Maybe trade him or one of your other forwards? Trade the pick? The Timberwolves have a lot of young players and could use a veteran so maybe a trade is a good call. Or package two or more picks — the Wolves have three first round picks in this draft — and try to move up the ladder? Kahn has a lot of questions to answer.

The Kings are in a little better spot — they are not going to get the talent level they had hoped for, but they are going to get a good player to fill a need.

The Kings would love for Cousins to fall to them, then they could pair him with Carl Landry, Jason Thompson and Spencer Hawes to create a nice little front line. If they can’t get Cousins and have to take Johnson or Amino and get a forward to go with Omri Casspi. They Kings will get a good player, but not the kind of big talent like Wall or Turner that they needed.

They also may be better of listing to trade offers to get a player that is a better fit.

Both the Kings and Jazz will get a good player out of this. But it’s just not the same a few notches down the ladder.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott
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Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.

Is Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Lionel Messi
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Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.

Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?

“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.

“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”

I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.

But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.

Jahlil Okafor fights man in Boston (video)

Jahlil Okafor

The 76ers lost a heartbreaker to the Celtics last night, dropping Philadelphia to 0-16.

Jahlil Okafor was apparently in a foul mood after the game.


We’re told everyone got up and fled the scene and no arrests were made.

We’re told the altercation began because one of the men in the other group yelled at Jahlil, “The 76ers suck.”

We spoke with a rep for Jahlil who tells us … Okafor says he was being heckled from the moment he left the club and felt threatened because people swarmed him on the street.


This video obviously doesn’t show everything, but it certainly makes Okafor look like the aggressor.

Okafor will probably face punishment from some combination of the legal system, NBA and 76ers.