NBA draft: Could Wesley Johnson really be the Nets' play at No. 3?


Thumbnail image for wjohnson.jpgUPDATE 1:01 pm: Now the very well connected Jonathan Givony at DraftExpress is confirming that it looks like the Nets will now take Johnson No. 3. These were is tweets.

Wesley Johnson is moving up to 3, New Jersey, on
our next mock coming shortly. Told New Jersey will take him and go for a
PF in free agency.

Wes is the most ready guy and New Jersey wants to
be competitive next year. Favors does to Minnesota & compliments
Love+Jefferson perfectly

Look for Minnesota to make a move though, possibly trading one of their big men (along with maybe unhappy point guard Jonny Flynn) to get some wing help they need.

12:30 pm: In anticipation of the draft, it’s been widely assumed that after the No.1 and No. 2 picks are used on John Wall and Evan Turner, the No. 3 would be used on either DeMarcus Cousins or Derrick Favors. Both provide very different looks, yet they have good skills and incredible potential. Favors and Cousins are almost universally considered the top bigs in the draft, and would fill a positional need for New Jersey. That’s why there’s one possibility that has yet to be really explored in the draft rumors: what if the Nets forgot about drafting a big man entirely, and drafted Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson?

According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets could be higher on Johnson than previously thought:

All along, the Wolves had planned to select Johnson at No. 4, and yet the New Jersey Nets are holding serious discussions about drafting the small forward and taking their chances with trying to sign a power forward in free agency. The Nets had long favored Derrick Favors, but are debating now about how long it will take for him to become a regular contributor. New Jersey is still contemplating DeMarcus Cousins, too.

Everything is still heavily in doubt at this point, and it could be that the Nets are simply doing their homework on Johnson. Nothing wrong with that, even if things end up going according to the original plan. That said, if Johnson ends up going to New Jersey somehow, it could end up being a saving grace for the Kings, Warriors, or Pistons. Even if those teams prefer to draft a small forward, the talent of Favors and Cousins is fairly remarkable. To have a talent like that drop a spot or two in the draft would be pretty substantial.

Kings’ Karl admits mistakes in DeMarcus Cousins trade controversey

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In the NBA, elite players have the leverage. It is just simple supply and demand.

DeMarcus Cousins is an elite player — and a favorite of owner Vivek Ranadive. He is not going anywhere.

Which made this summer’s “George Karl wants trade Cousins” a battle the coach couldn’t ultimately win — the owner wasn’t going to sign off on it, and the fans are going to side with Boogie. Remember Karl said he never had a player that was untradable, and that spiraled into reports Karl probed trade options with other teams, much to the frustration of management and Cousins himself.

Karl owned up to some of his mistakes in an interview on Comcast Bay Area, as reported by James Ham at

“To be honest with you, I apologized to DeMarcus for making the trade comment that I’ve never coached a player that’s untradeable,” Karl told Christensen. “That was wrong for me to say, because you all (the media) took it and blew it up into crazy.”

“But it’s my responsibility to be smart enough to not say things like that,” Karl continued. “So I did apologize because I thought that was the only thing, maybe some other things, but really the only thing that got us separated was that comment that then everybody wrote the we’re going to trade [Cousins].”

The relationship between Cousins and Karl — not to mention Rajon Rondo and other veterans — is the biggest key to the Kings’ season. Karl and Cousins say their relationship is solid now, but what happens when that is put under stress at some point during the season?

In talking to people around the team, the Kings players seemed to have formed a tight bond — even if part of the glue of that bond is a distrust of Karl that can work for them. This is a team that has the talent to compete for the bottom couple playoff seeds in the Western Conference, but everybody needs to be pulling on the rope in the same direction. We will see pretty quickly if the Kings can do that.

Pistons reveal “Detroit Chrome” alternate uniform

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I’m a fan of the Pistons’ alternate uniforms in general — their “Motor City” ones may be may favorite alternates around the league.

Now they have a new one — Detroit Chrome.

The Pistons will break these out for seven home games this season. From the official release:

The inspiration for the Detroit Chrome jerseys came about as a way to honor our coolest cars from the past and the cars of the future. Detroit is universally known as the auto capital of the world, where chrome leaves an indelible mark on the cars we create. The uniforms feature a matte chrome base color with clean simple lines inspired by the classic muscle cars that have roared up and down Woodward Avenue for decades. The navy trim and Detroit emblazoned across the chest represent the blue collar work ethic that the auto industry and region was built on.

Clean, simple, cool — I like it.

That would look good in the first round of the playoffs, too. (I’m predicting they get the eight seed.)