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.

Warriors, TNT to begin NBA season with tribute to Craig Sager

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13:  Honoree Craig Sager accepts the Jimmy V Award for Perserverance onstage during the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK (AP) — The Golden State Warriors and TNT will begin the season with a tribute to sideline reporter Craig Sager, who is battling leukemia.

TNT will unveil a T-shirt during its Tuesday night studio show that was inspired by the suit Sager wore while receiving the Jimmy Valvano Award at this year’s ESPY Awards. Proceeds from the sale of the shirt will benefit the SagerStrong Foundation .

The Warriors will then give their fans at their season opener against San Antonio a Sager Strong T-shirt. The team also will play a message in the arena supporting his fight.

The popular reporter, best known for his colorful suits, won’t be able to work the game as he continues treatment for the disease.

He also designed a special edition Nike sneaker, and 100 pairs will be available via online auction beginning Tuesday through Nov. 4. A portion of the proceeds from the auction will benefit the SagerStrong Foundation.

Before season starts, watch top 10 dunks of preseason

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Starting Tuesday night, the games matter. The dunks matter.

But before we move onto those dunks, let’s have some fun with the top 10 dunks of the meaningless preseason. They may not matter, but they certainly were fun.

Of course there are some expected highlights — can you have a dunk reel without Russell Westbrook? — but game-winning dunks always get the top slot.

Carmelo Anthony says rather than take knee during Anthem he wants action in communities

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26:  Carmelo Anthony #7 of the New York Knicks looks on against the Cleveland Cavaliers during their game at Madison Square Garden on March 26, 2016 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Colin Kaepernick certainly fired up a discussion — not always the conversation he intended, but a discussion of the treatment of African-Americans in our society was part of that conversation.

No NBA player has taken that same step through the preseason, taking a knee during the national anthem (only anthem singers have done that). Some teams are locking arms during the anthem in a show of solidarity, but they stand in two orderly rows.

Carmelo Anthony explained in an interview with Bleacher Report that what he and many others want to see is the next step in Kaepernick’s protest — action in the community.

“I’m past the gestures,” New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony told B/R Mag. “I’m past that. It’s all about creating things now and putting things in motion. So, that’s what I’m on. I’m trying to get guys on board with that and help them understand that—enough of the gesturing and talking and all of that stuff—we need to start putting things in place….

“He’s done it,” Anthony said of Kaepernick. “He was courageous enough to do that. He created that. He created the kneeling and that protest. And people fell in line with that. Some people supported it. Some people didn’t. But at the end of the day, and I’m not taking nothing away from him…I just don’t think the gesturing is creating anything. I think it’s bringing awareness, but I think doing stuff and creating awareness in the communities [is more effective].”

What are those things? Players, the players’ union, the NBA itself, and it’s teams are all working to figure that out. This is not something where one blanket program fits all — what is needed in communities in New York is different from the needs in Milwaukee, is different from the needs in Sacramento. This needs to be local, with players involved.

There have already been some steps. The Bulls held a basketball tournament between police and a mentoring agency, which was followed by a panel discussion. Dwyane Wade biked with police through Miami. The Grizzlies have revived the Police Athletic League in Memphis. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, there are teams from New Orleans to Los Angeles are working to bring youth and police together to talk.

It’s a start. A good start.

There is no one magic gesture, no one simple measure that can heal the deep divides in our nation right now. There are no easy answers, and as a nation we can be too dependent on easy answers. We need to listen. We need to talk to each other, not at each other. We need to practice empathy.

NBA players can help lead that effort, that conversation. It would be the next step after a protest — to act on those steps. Good on Anthony and the NBA for attempting to go down that road.


Rockets change from earlier reports, waive Pablo Prigioni, keep Tyler Ennis

HOUSTON, TX - MAY 17:  Pablo Prigioni #9 of the Houston Rockets celebrates in the third quarter against the Los Angeles Clippers during Game Seven of the Western Conference Semifinals at the Toyota Center for the 2015 NBA Playoffs on May 17, 2015 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
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The Rockets traded for Tyler Ennis., sending Michael Beasley away in the deal.

Which is why it was a bit of a surprise on Monday when early reports had the Rockets waiving Ennis, but either the report was off or the Rockets changed their minds.

With Patrick Beverley out injured, this leaves the Rockets thin at the traditional point guard spot. However, in practice James Harden, Eric Gordon and others will initiate Mike D’Antoni’s offense, so the bigger challenge will be defensively. Prigioni was not much help there at this point in his career.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a team snaps up Prigioni as insurance, or he certainly can make money overseas. Prigioni played last season as a backup point guard for the Clippers.