Spencer Hawes gets another chance, but Philadelphia is not so forgiving

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nba_hawes_250.jpgRight now, everything is good between Spencer Hawes and Philadelphia. The management there, his teammates, the fans are all good with him.

It was that way in Sacramento for a long time. He was to be the future. Hawes and the fans loved each other. But that soured. He can drain threes (at a 30 percent clip last season) but seemed to be a 7’1″ guy floating on the wings. Some days he was blocking shots and grabbing boards, but many other nights he was not.

There was never the improvement one expects out of a young player, he just seemed the same.

Hawes wants that to be different next year, he told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I have been focusing on this summer, kind of getting stronger, trying to get back down to the post,” said the 7-foot-1 center, who along with combo forward Andres Nocioni was acquired by the Sixers in a trade for Samuel Dalembert on Thursday.

“Coming in as a 19- and 20-year-old, I didn’t necessarily have the strength to be able to hold my own as much down there” in the NBA, said Hawes, who has bulked up 15 pounds to 245 during his three-year career.

“Now having grown up a little bit, I think that’s something I’m getting to be more effective at. I would like to try to reestablish that as a strong suit.”

Where Hawes really needs to step up is on defense — he is not that impressive, particularly if you got him moving on things like pick-and-rolls. He comes in for Samuel Dalembert, who is a good defender, and will play for a coach in Collins who will put the emphasis on that end of the floor. Hawes will defend or see less of the floor, it’s that simple.

But it’s a new chance. A second chance. But if he doesn’t step up, he will find the fans in Philly not as forgiving as the ones in SacTown.

Report: First-round draft prospect says Phil Jackson fell asleep during his workout

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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Like I said, there are better reasons to criticize Phil Jackson than him saying his priority was the Knicks and that he had discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis.

Jay Williams of ESPN:

A top-15 draft pick told me the other day, because we were involved in this out of this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said, “Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep in my workout.”

Yes. “Falling in and out of sleep at my workout.” This is what this guy told me.

Especially given Jackson’s salary and reputation for not being a diligent worker, this story is too good to check out.

O.G. Anunoby invited to NBA draft, Harry Giles declines

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The NBA’s invitations to the draft are a good indicator of when players will get drafted. The league samples executives, who are more likely to be honest here than in leaks to the media, about how they rank players. So, the list is worth monitoring.

The players who will attend tonight’s draft nearly match the leaks – with one exception. O.G. Anunoby is going, and Harry Giles isn’t.

Here are the players who will be at the draft – a reasonable placeholder for the players most likely to get picked in the top 20 – via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England:

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:

Harry Giles declined his invite sources told DraftExpress.

Did Giles decline his invite because, with his extensive injury history, he feared falling too far? Or did he just prefer to watch elsewhere?

Was Anunoby simply 21st on the NBA’s list of players to invite? Or was the league too unsure of his medical status to include him until getting a stronger grasp now?

I don’t know, but the possibility that Giles could slip or Anunoby is more secure alters my perception of their draft stock (Anunoby up, Giles down).

Report: Knicks’ asking price for Kristaps Porzingis ‘massive’

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What has Phil Jackson actually done? He discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis with other teams and called the Knicks, not Porzingis, his priority. That’s it.

At face value, this is fine. It’s what devoted executives, not always Jackson, should do.

Jackson hasn’t traded Porzingis for meager return. He hasn’t traded Porzingis at all.

Everyone up in arms should take a deep breath.

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

I wouldn’t rule out the Knicks trading Porzingis. The No. 1 pick got traded, after all. I wouldn’t rule out them trading Porzingis for too little return. Look at Jackson’s track record running the front office.

But wait until they do before bashing Jackson for not understanding Porzingis’ value.

There are plenty of better reasons to criticize Jackson, including overseeing the toxic culture that led to Porzingis skipping his exit interview and setting this latest “crisis” into motion. Publicly discussing trading Porzingis won’t endear Jackson to the budding star, but the problem is how it reached this point. Players in sound organizations can handle this. Jackson has engendered little confidence from his players, the distrust existed well before this round of trade talks.

Lonzo Ball recruits LeBron James to Lakers (video)

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Lonzo Ball doesn’t play for the Lakers. LeBron James isn’t a free agent.

But they’re headed that way – and Ball is already embracing it.

The Lakers are expected to draft Ball No. 2 tonight, and rumors are heating up about LeBron leaving the Cavaliers in 2018.

Why should LeBron join Ball in Los Angeles?

Ball on ESPN:

LeBron, I like to win. I know you like to win. I think our games can help each other out a lot. Any time you want the ball, just let me know. It’s going to be there.

Ball was asked to to pitch LeBron, so it’s not as if Ball is out here talking so brashly on his own. But answering the question was a rookie mistake.

Besides, I’m not sure Lonzo Ball can undo the bad blood between LeBron and LaVar Ball.