Texas star Dexter Pittman leaves NBA Draft Combine after family tragedy

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On Thursday, Dexter Pittman was running around a gym in Chicago trying to prove to a room full our NBA general managers and scouts that he is in shape and that his post game has dramatically improved.

But he left to return home on Friday after his brother had been shot and killed back home near Houston. ESPN has the report:

Harris County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Janie Wagner said a deputy was sent to the home just before 10 p.m. Thursday. The deputy found the victim “in the garage in his residence sitting in a chair with a gunshot wound to his head.”

Johnson was one of Pittman’s three siblings. Pittman was informed his brother was shot at midnight ET Thursday. Pittman arrived in Houston midmorning Friday, where he was informed by his mother that his brother had died.

“I just feel terrible for him. Dexter has gone through so much to get to this point, he was in the best shape of his life, he worked so hard, and then this tragedy happens,” said Mark Bartelstein, Pittman’s agent.

Pittman, who played for Texas, was at the combine to prove he deserved to be a second-round pick (or higher, although that is not likely). He is a big body – 6’10”, 303 pounds with a long 7’6″ wingspan – that could be part of an NBA roster as teams look for ways to match up with the size of teams like the Magic (with Dwight Howard) or the Lakers. The question is conditioning and commitment — Pittman tested for 20 percent body fat at the combine, the highest of any player there.

Pittman has the body and some skills, he could be a solid big off the bench, but he’s really going to have to work for it.

Our thoughts are with him and his family.

Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah to be suspended 20 games for violating league drug policy

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Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. It was a $72 million gamble that has not worked, and left New York with an anchor o a

Tomorrow it will be official he is done for the season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.

During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.

Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.

The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.

Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.

Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. But that is interesting.

 

 

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)