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.

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.