NBA finals, Lakers Celtics: Hey look, Doc can nudge the refs in the press, too

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While there are plenty of coaches around the league that don’t quite enjoy the mandatory media relations part of the gig, Phil Jackson isn’t really one of them. Not only does Phil throw on a happy face for the media every once in awhile, but he, better than any coach in the league, understands how to use the media as a weapon.

The impact of Phil’s comments through the media have perhaps dulled a bit as his players, other players, and officials have grown wise to his act, but Jackson continues to poke and prod at various aspects of the game, from effort to officiating.

Doc Rivers is taking a page from his book after Game 3, when discussing Derek Fisher’s defense. From Kevin Ding of the OC Register:

“I thought he got away with a lot last night,” Rivers said. “I
thought there was a lot of holding going on and a lot of flopping going
on, and finally he showed that last one…But he’s good at it. He’s always been good at it. We knew that
going into the series. He’s one of the best charge-takers in the game.
He’s always been that. And some of them are charges and then some of
them are flops, but all of them are tough to call. It is a brutal call
to make. It really is a tough one.

“But as far as the off-the-ball action, single-double action, you
are not allowed to hold. You’re not allowed to bump, and you’re not
allowed to impede progress. I read that this morning, and I’m positive
of it. So you know, when that happens, then that has to be called.”

Rivers also again speculated about Lakers coach Phil Jackson’s
rather mild complaints about the officiating after Game 2 as having
swayed the calls in Game 3, saying Jackson’s commentary “carries weight.” Said Rivers about the results in Game 3: “It’s funny, I thought they
got away with more with all the moving screens. I didn’t think it was
all our fouls. I just think it was a ton of moving screens they got
away with.”

Doc’s perception of Phil’s influence makes these comments even more transparent. As usual, NBA coaches aren’t willingly trying to help us understand the nuances of the game, but rather use their media sessions as open lobbying to officials and the league office.

Chris Paul’s son joins him on Clippers bench in rout of Lakers (video)

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Is this disrespectful to the Lakers? Absolutely.

And I love it.

Chris Paul and the Clippers crushed their Los Angeles counterparts, 133-109, last night. The Clippers, who’ve won 13 of 14 in the series, have practically run out of ways to show up their crosstown rival on the court. If it now takes bench visitors, so be it.

This is the best late-blowout bench behavior since LeBron James led the Cavaliers in the water-bottle challenge in a December win over the Knicks. This would rank higher if Chris Jr. didn’t also joined the bench in the Clippers’ November win over the Mavericks, which is the pictured on this post.

Jawun Evans leaving Oklahoma State for NBA draft

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You’ve probably heard of the top college point guards for the 2017 NBA draft: Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr., De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk. You might have even heard of French point guard prospect Frank Ntilikina.

Which point guard will be drafted next after those six?

One possibility: Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans.

Evan Daniels of Scout:

Evans looks like a second-round pick, but a dearth of point guards projected into the latter half of the first round could boost his stock.

He’s ultra quick and ultra aggressive and led the nation’s top KenPom offense. Evans relentlessly attacks the rim, often while forcing transition opportunities. That gets defenses scrambled, creating kickout-passing lanes and offensive-rebound opportunities.

However, the 6-foot Evans doesn’t finish that well at the rim – creating a major question about how he’ll translate to the NBA. The bigger defenders in the paint might limit his kickout passes, too.

His size also presents major problems defensively, though a 6-foot-4 wingspan at least helps.

Evans is good enough on jumpers to keep defenses honest, and at Oklahoma State, he had to create so much for himself. It’d be interesting to see whether limiting his burden improves his efficiency or whether his helpfulness is limited to having the ball in his hands.

My guess is the latter, and I’m unconvinced he’s good enough to demand such a role in the NBA. But the possibility is strong enough that I’d be excited about rolling the dice on him in the second round.

Shabazz Muhammad awkwardly mentions Collective Bargaining Agreement during halftime interview (video)

AP Photo/Jim Mone
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The Timberwolves surprisingly led the Spurs by nine at halftime last night, which takes us to Shabazz Muhammad‘s mid-game interview.

Muhammad:

We’re doing a great job on defense, Wiggs, myself, everybody. It’s a tough team, especially Kawhi and the guys. So, we’re doing a really good job and everybody’s collective – Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Um. What?

To be fair, I can’t even imagine what type of nonsense I’d spew in the midst of a taxing workout or a high-pressure situation – let alone something that qualifies as both.

Unfortunately for Muhammad, Minnesota eventually fell to San Antonio, 100-93. But hopefully, he can laugh at this moment. He should, at least.

hat tip: reddit user cjsplash

Duke’s Jayson Tatum, California’s Ivan Rabb declare for NBA draft

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Wednesday a couple of forwards expected to go in the first round of June’s NBA draft said they plan on making the jump to the NBA.

As expected, Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Cal’s Ivan Rabb made their decisions official.

Duke announced Tatum’s decision.

Tatum is expected to be a top-five pick, DraftExpress.com currently has him as the No. 4 pick. The 6’8″ wing can flat-out score the rock, which is why teams are intrigued, as Rob Dauster of NBC’s College Basketball Talk told us in a recent podcast. However, teams wonder if he can create shots for others and not just himself, and if he’s going to be a good defender at the NBA level. He has the physical tools to do be a good defender, but will he put in the work game in, game out?

Rabb is a 6’10” sophomore who has a great NBA build and athleticism to spare, but at the NBA level everyone is a great athlete. Rabb doesn’t have a great perimeter game and needs to develop one and be a consistent defensive force to be a difference maker (or have a lengthy career) at the NBA level. DraftExpress.com has him going 22nd in this draft, and his stock seems to have fallen over the course of the season.