NBA Draft: PBT's post of picks, starting off on the Wall

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This is it, the NBA Draft post o’ picks. This is the place where you find out who picks Wall and Turner and Favors and this those European centers who shoot threes that always are taken late in the second round.

As each pick goes down, we’ll have it up in seconds and with a paragraph breaking it down. Or explaining to you who the guy is. So keep checking back. Or we’ll have to come find you.

1. Washington — John Wall, point guard (Kentucky): We’ve known he was going No. 1 since December (or earlier), his game made this a foregone conclusion. More impressively, he came off as composed and comfortable at the draft combine — he looks like a leader. On the court, his game is probably closest to Russell Westbrook, deadly in the open court and smart enough in the half court to hit the right guy. But his impact could be more Chris Paul — maybe the best point guard in the game. A guy you can build around.

2. Philadelphia — Evan Turner, guard (Ohio State): Another pick that is not a shock. He is most often compared to Brandon Roy, with Turner himself even saying their games are similar. But Roy is a better shooter, where Turner excels is in transition. DraftExpress notes he scores 1.27 points per possession in transition, crazy high number. This could mean a great show him running along side Jrue Holiday and Iggy. The Sixers could be a force in transition. That is, if new coach Doug Collins turns the horses loose.

3. New Jersey — Derrick Favors, forward/center (Georgia Tech): This is a pick for the future. With Brook Lopez locked in at center, Favors will be an oversized and athletic four that will be a matchup nightmare. Favors is also raw. Incredibly athletic, with a world of potential. But raw. However the Nets are rebuilding and have time to wait for him to mature, to grow along with the rest of the squad.

4. Minnesota — Wesley Johnson, forward (Syracuse): A three who can attack the rim and get out and run, but did a lot of damage in the half court in college (because he got favorable matchups, we’ll see how it goes in the pros where the defenders are bigger and faster). Johnson has a versatile game that will be able to blend in with what is now being built in Minnesota. He also can defend and will contest shots out on the perimeter because of his length.

5. Sacramento – DeMarcus Cousins, forward/center (Kentucky): This guy may be the biggest beast in the draft, a guy making the top four capable of regretting their pick. And paired with Tyreke Evans… Sacramento is to be feared. Cousins is an athletic beast on the block, with polished moves and some outside shots. He can board like mad.  Good footwork. He is the best big in this draft easily, the best overall maybe – if his head is on right. There were questions about his work ethic, then he showed up 15 pounds heavy to the NBA Draft Combine. Mature and focused Cousins is elite. Otherwise, this is your bust.

6. Golden State – Ekpe Udoh, forward (Baylor): Hard to say how he fits in with a roster and franchise in flux, but he can protect the rim and that is something they certainly could use in the Bay Area. Udoh can do more than just block shots, he can step out to the midrange, too. He had to create a lot of his own looks in Baylor, someone will do that for him in Golden State. And by someone we mean Stephen Curry. Should be a good fit. Whatever style they are going to play there.

7. Detroit – Greg Monroe, center (Georgetown): Monroe is the rare forward/center whose best skill is passing, and he brings with that a diverse and polished offensive game. Just a great basketball IQ to go with it. He’s going to have to learn how to defend in the post, he’s going to have to be more physical, but he can give you minutes now and can fit in any system.

8. L.A. Clippers — Al-Faroq Aminu, forward (Wake Forest): This was one of the other foregone conclusions, the Clippers have signaled this is their guy for a while. The Clips need an athletic three, they hope it can be this guy. He is an amazing athlete, he likes to defend, he can board, he can drive and draw fouls, he can work in transition. But he was also on our bust to watch list for a reason –he’s a forward who shot 45% in college and isn’t much of an outside shooter (24% on jumpers last year). He’s a bit of a tweener. If he can develop the skills of a three it’s a fit. Otherwise, well, it’s the Clippers.

9. Utah – Gordon Hayward, forward (Butler): Hey Knicks this was your pick. Just a reminder. Hawyard has a great college game but the question is can he get his shot off at the next level. But going to Utah may help with those issues – he has the understanding of the game and how to fit in  the motion system of the Jazz. The system will get him shots, and he can knock them down. But there are serious questions of if he can defend at the NBA level. If he can’t, Jerry Sloan will sit him fast. We had Hayward on our bust list — and he could turn out to be perfect for that list — but this may be the best place for him to land, and not have too much expected of him out of the gate.

10. Indiana – Paul George, forward (Fresno State): This is a guy who climbed fast when scouts started watching him up close. He’s listed as a 6’8″ forward but he is really more of a two/three on the court. He’s on our sleeper list because who expects a big star to come out of Fresno State right now, but his smooth game could translate well. He has to stop the turnovers, got to improve the handles, but he has a fantastic jumper good out to the arc and beyond. This is not a pick for right now but for a couple years from now, he has really bloomed in the last couple years and could be solid to special.

11. New Orleans – Cole Aldrich, center (Kansas): Hornets, you got yourself a solid role-playing big man. If he stays, rumor is he gets traded to Oklahoma City as part of a larger deal. He can defend and board, and score a little. Do not expect to be wowed by his athleticism, he’s not going to drop 20 very often. You did not get a lottery star player, don’t go in expecting that. But he can give you some defense on the second unit, do the little things. That should be enough to help.

12. Memphis – Xavier Henry, guard (Kansas): Henry can shoot the rock. Hit 41% from three last year and is good as the spot up guy. What I really like about him he is plays within himself, he is not great at going to the rim, so he doesn’t do it much (unless it’s wide open). Just a smart player and a good athlete, he works hard on defense. He can step in and be a role player, but he never is going to be much more than that.

13. Toronto – Ed Davis, forward (North Carolina): He came back to North Carolina for another year to… well, college is a lot of fun. Not sure what he got of it on the court. He has a good game in the post with nice touch but no face up game and it’s hard to be a super successful four in the league without that. He’s got an NBA body that will fill out more and can explode at the rim. He can finish lobs and on the break, but his he needs to get the midrange to really reach the next level. But he could grow into something good.

14. Houston – Patrick Patterson, forward (Kentucky): Three Wildcats in the lottery, that’s why they won the NCAA… oh, that’s right. Anyway, he has a really smart game around the rim, with maybe the best jump hook in college. He can step out and drain the midrange. Great hands and will fit in well with the system in Houston. He needs to develop any kind of left hand, and if he wants to see the floor in Houston he’s got to defend better. But he can come off the bench and get them points to start.

15. Milwaukee – Larry Sanders, forward (VCU): Good defender, works hard on that end. which will help him get some burn to start with the Bucks. This is a guy who shot up draft boards on potential – didn’t start playing a lot until seven years ago
. But he comes with an NBA b
ody and athleticism. But he has a lot of development to do. Could become a good role player, but you’ll be waiting on this one for a while, Bucks fans.

16. Minnesota – Luke Babbit, forward (Nevada): Babbit moved fast up the draft boards of teams once they saw him in combines and workouts. This guy can score, great touch, can score at the rim or shoot out to the arc – a 6-9 guy who can shoot 41 percent from three, and 90 percent from the free throw line. He’s not a great athlete at the NBA level, but he can give the team some scoring punch off the bench.

17. Chicago — Kevin Seraphin, forward (France): This will go to the Wizards in the Kirk Hinrich trade, but it feels like a reach, this is a super-athletic big man, and he is young at 20.  But he is also very, very raw. He is going to spend another year or two in France or the D-League, and he’s only been playing basketball for five years. He is like a lion’s lunch on the Serengeti raw. Which makes him an odd pick for the Wizards in the short term, we’ll see how it pans out beyond that.

18. Oklahoma City – Eric Bledsoe, guard (Kentucky): He has been traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, where he will be the guy off the bench behind Baron Davis. The other guard in Kentucky. And because he was forced to play the two next to Wall he it was not a great fit. If he’s really a small two guard he will struggle in the league, but if he can ball handle and get out and run it could work.

19. Boston – Avery Bradley, guard (Texas): Looks like the Celtics found their backup to Rajon Rondo at the point. Coming into this year, he was expected to be as good or as better than John Wall, but his game did not mature as much. He shoots well on spot-ups but does not shoot well off the dribble. He can defend, however, which will fit in with the Celtics no matter who the coach is.

20. San Antonio – James Anderson, guard (Oklahoma State): Best perimeter scorer in the draft… How do guys like this always fall to the Spurs. He was on our sleepers list because he is a guy who can score the rock any way you please — spot up, off the dribble or drive to rim (and draws fouls well). He is a fantastic athlete. Got to work on his defense, Pops likes the defense. But a good pick.

21. Oklahoma City – Craig Brackins, forward (Iowa State): He has been traded to New Orleans, which has far better gumbo than you find in Oklahoma City. He might well have been a lottery guy last year, but he went back for one more season, defenses really focused on him, and he faltered. The defenders are longer and better in the NBA, but he won’t be focused on as much and other can create for him (something that never happened at Iowa State). Scouts liked his offensive potential, though they questioned his commitment to defense.

22. Portland – Elliot Williams, guard (Memphis): This guys has classic swingman skills – he can run the break, and take guys off the dribble in the half court. He is very quick, and he knows how to draw contact. He also can defend. He needs to get a more steady shot, and most of all he needs to develop the ability to go right with the right hand. NBA teams can stop a one-handed player.

23. Minnesota – Trevor Booker, forward (Clemson): He has been traded to the Wizards (for picks 30 and 35, Minnesota gets 56 from the Wizards). Small for the size but strong. He is a good athlete and works hard, but his offensive moves will need polish for the NBA level. He was asked to take on more of the offense at Clemson last year and struggled to be efficient.

24. Atlanta – Damion James, forward (Texas): He has been traded to the New Jersey Nets. Very physical player at the college level, but that is a lot harder to pull off at the NBA level, and he may be a little small to do that. He is a good athlete who could run and play in transition. Needs to polish up the offense a little.

25. Memphis – Dominique Jones, guard (South Florida): He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks for cash. He can score at the rim, he averaged 21 a game for South Florida. He’s a slashing two guard who can get to the hole and finish. However, he has a questionable outside shot (31 percent from three this season) and some scouts question if he is athletic enough to player the slasher style at the next level. Still nothing wrong with taking a chance on a scorer.
 
26. Oklahoma City – Quincy Pondexter, forward (Washington): The guy has all the physical tools. Get him the ball on the baseline or at the pinch post and his first step gets buy guys. Washington used him a lot in isolation, that’s not how they roll in the OKC, he’ll have to get used to playing off the ball. He also has to be more consistent on the jumper. But he’s the kind of skilled athlete that seems to be all over the Thunder roster.

27. New Jersey – Jordan Crawford, guard (Xavier): He is actually being traded to Atlanta, where he could fit in very well. The Nets get the rights to Damion Jones, chosen by the Hawks at 24. Crawford was on our sleeper list because not only is he a very good athlete, he stepped it up in the NCAA Tournament scoring 29 a game. That’s a good sign.

28. Memphis – Greivis Vasquez, guard (Maryland): This is a guy a lot of teams liked at the end of the first or early in the second after he impressed in workouts. He can get out in transition and score, and Memphis could use the points off the bench. He’s a tall point guard who has a good feel for the game and can pass. Needs a jumper, needs to get stronger, but he is a guy the fans will love to watch play. He is passionate.

29. Orlando – Daniel Orton, center (Kentucky): The guy just looks like an NBA center, at 6’10” and with a wide frame. He did some defensive cleaning up for the Wildcats in the paint. He was a little hard to judge because injuries and the deep front line at Kentucky meant not a lot of minutes. But he can at least be a good defending/rebounding role player.

30. Washington – Lazar Hayward, forward (Marquette): Generally considered a second rounder, he gets in at the end of the first – and with it three years of guaranteed money. He’s a physical three who was forced to play the four (and even the five) in college. He’s long and works hard, but there are questions about his athleticism.

SECOND ROUND

30. Washington – Lazar Hayward, forward (Marquette): Generally considered a second rounder, he gets in at the end of the first – and with it three years of guaranteed money. He’s a physical three who was forced to play the four (and even the five) in college. He’s long and works hard, but there are questions about his athleticism.

31. New Jersey – Tabor Pleiss, center (Germany): This was Atlanta’s pick, but he is being traded to Oklahoma City. He’s young, 7’1″ and has skills. He will develop for a couple years in Europe but if he improves like he did this year in a couple years this could be a steal.

32: Miami – Dexter Pittman, center (Texas): Big guy with a lot of potential. He weighed nearly 400 pounds in college, got down to like 300 in college, and the Heat think if he can get to 275 he can do some damage. No real commitment with the second rounders.

33. Sacramento – Hassan Whiteside, center (Marshall): He was on our sleepers list because he has a 7’7″ wingspan and he is a fantastic athlete. He blocked 5.5 shots per game. But he has a million body with a 5¢ head. Rumors are hard to coach, real head case. A good risk for a Sacramento team with good young talent.

34. Portland – Armon Johnson, guard (Nevada): Really athletic combo guard but one who needs a good jumper if he wants to stick.

35. Washington – Nemanja Bjelica, forward (Serbia): He’s being traded to Minnesota. He’ll be stashed overseas for a couple years. Tall point guard guy.

36. Detroit – Terrico White, guard (Old Miss): Swingman with long arms
and a good athlete. He has the raw talent but there are a lot of talented swingmen in the Association. Questions about his desire are out there.

37. Milwaukee – Darington Hobson, forward (New Mexico): Good ball handling forward, kind of a point forward, with a real feel for the game. We’ll see if that feel cane make up for his lack of athleticism.

38. New York – Andy Rautins, guard (Syracuse): Shooter. Can shoot beyond the NBA three. Good chance he makes the team as the Knicks need guys who are inexpensive to fill out the roster they gutted to get a free agent.

39. New York – Landry Fields, forward (Stanford): In a sloppy season in the Pac-10 he was a guy worth watching. Shot well while being the focus of defenses, shot well with a hand in his face.

40. Indiana – Lance Stephenson, guard (Cincinnati): He can slash and score, but he suffers from watching a little too much Kobe Bryant. “Wow, look at that insane hard shot Kobe made… I can do that!” No, you can’t. Clean up the shot selection. But the guy can score and is quick off the dribble, he could be a good pick in the second round.

41. Miami – Jarvis Varando, forward (Mississippi State): Good shot blocker who needs to develop the rest of his game.

42. Miami – Da’Sean Butler, forward (West Virginia): Remember him? West Virginia’s best player who blew out his ACL in the NCAA Tournament? Tough break, and he probably can’t play until the All-Star break. But before that he was a first rounder, so maybe this is a steal.

43. L.A. Lakers – Devin Ebanks, forward (West Virginia): He has a chance to make the Lakers roster if he can prove he belongs. They have spots they want to fill cheaply, but they need guys who can help a team win a title, not rookie mistakes. Ebanks is a very good defender and not a good shooter (23 percent on jumpers last season).

44. Milwaukee – Jerome Jordan, center (Tulsa): NBA body, but seems to lack the fire to really play at the NBA level. If he proves everybody wrong, good pick for the Bucks.

45. Minnesota – Paulao Prestes, center (Brazil): Real big post presence who has put up good numbers in the Spanish ABC league. Which is no small feat. He could be a Marc Gasol kind of guy that looked good in Europe and his game translated.

46. Phoenix — Gani Lawal, forward (Georgia Tech): It’s hard to look that good next to Derrick Favors, especially when your games are similar but he is better at it. Good news: Lawal suffered in the post due to poor guard play at Georgia Tech. Not a problem in Phoenix.

47. Milwaukee – Keith Gallon, forward (Oklahoma): A poor man’s Big Baby… but those may be trendy right now.

48. Miami – Latavious Williams, forward (D-League): This is huge, the first guy ever drafted out of the D-League. I think down the line you’ll see more guys go this route, playing a couple years in the D-League rather than go to college. He was a Memphis recruit, couldn’t get the grades and found another way to the league. Now he’s just got to stick.

49. San Antonio – Ryan Richards, forward/center (England): He was on our second rounders to watch list because his athleticism and game wowed people at the combine. He’s raw, he may be in the D-League for a couple years (or be staying in Europe) but he could be a huge get in a couple years. Plus, if San Antonio drafts him you have a feeling they saw something nobody else did.

50. Dallas – Solomon Alabi, center (Florida State): Smart pick for the Mavericks. This guy has a high energy level, a Joakim Noah type of motor. Great shot blocker. Could have really fit in along a front line that needed more size. So they traded him to Toronto. Exactly, we’re not sure either.

51. Oklahoma City – Magnum Rolle, center (Louisiana Tech): He was traded to Indiana. Good athlete but whose game needs to develop, but at age 24 is that really going to happen? But OKC loves to draft good big athletes and see if it can work.

52. Boston – Luke Hanagody, forward (Notre Dame): Very awkward game that worked well for him in college but may not translate to the NBA. Not the kind of athlete that can cover that up. But he’s a big who can shoot and those guys sometimes get jobs.

53. Atlanta – Pape Sy, forward (Senegal): No, we really have no idea either.

54. L.A. Clippers – Willie Warren, guard (Oklahoma): Good pick. Everybody thought this guy would be a lottery pick just after the last draft, but injuries and a regression in his game and an attitude problem dropped him. But that’s a lot of talent, and worth the risk in the second round where you can just cut him if it doesn’t work out. The Clippers need a backup point.

55. Utah – Jeremy Evans, forward (Western Kentucky): He’s a thin version of an NBA small forward body, 6’9″ and long. But with no good outside shot. And he was off everybody’s radar. So who knows.

56. Minnesota – Hamady N’diaye, center (Rutgers): Being tall is good – 6’11” with a 7’4″ wingspan. 

57. Indiana – Ryan Reid, forward, Florida State: He is being traded to Oklahoma City. Physical power forward who likes to bang inside.

58. L.A. Lakers – Derrick Caracter, forward (UTEP): Guy with talent but has some character issues. That won’t fly in a veteran Laker locker room. Clean up or find a new place to play fast.

59. Orlando – Stanley Robinson, forward (Connecticut): Great pick this late because Robinson is an NBA level athlete. He needs a lot of polish on his game, and a better feel for the game. And to prove he is mentally ready for the NBA.

60. Phoenix – Dwayne Collins, forward (Miami): One of the better athletes in the draft and a guy you could see finding his way into that Suns bench mob. Maybe.

Paul Pierce “50/50” about playing next season

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Paul Pierce may have played his final NBA game. After the Clippers’ season-ending loss to the Trail Blazers on Friday night, the 18-year veteran was noncommittal about his future. Here’s what he said, via CSNNW.com (video above):

For each year the last couple of years, I’ve thought long and hard about walking away from the game. The process will continue this summer as I think long and hard, as I get older in age, talk to my family, see how my body feels. I don’t want to make an emotional decision right now, so I’ll sit down with my family and think about it. It’s just gotta hit you one day. You just never know. You don’t know. Right now, it’s 50/50. I’ll see how I feel when I wake up, if I feel like getting ready for next season. If I don’t feel that feeling, that fire’s not there, it’s going to be tough,

Pierce wasn’t as effective with the Clippers as they’d hoped he would be when they signed him, coming off a big playoffs with the Wizards last season. If he does decide to walk away, he’s a surefire Hall of Famer who will go down as one of the best forwards of his generation.

Report: Ty Lue still has assistant’s contract with Cavs

CLEVELAND, OHIO - APRIL 13: Head coach Tyronn Lue of the Cleveland Cavaliers in action against the Detroit Pistons at Quicken Loans Arena on April 13, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Pistons defeated Cleveland 112-110 in overtime.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
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When the Cavaliers fired David Blatt midseason, they promoted Ty Lue to head coach, without an interim tag attached. The job was his. But apparently, he has yet to sign a new contract that reflects his new title with a pay bump, and is still under contract as an assistant despite being the team’s head coach.

From ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin:

As the Cavaliers prepare to face the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the playoffs, head coach Tyronn Lue continues to guide the team without having signed a new contract since he took over for David Blatt, multiple sources said this week.

Lue, 38, was promoted from associate head coach to Blatt’s successor on Jan. 22, with Cleveland general manager David Griffin parting ways with Blatt despite the team’s conference-best 30-11 record at the time. Even without a new contract, Lue never had an interim title attached to his position.

According to the report, Lue’s current contract runs through next season, with a team option for the following year, and Lue fully expects to be back. He hasn’t interviewed or shown interest in any of the other head coaching jobs that are open.

Still, until he signs a new contract, this is just another piece of uncertainty hanging over the Cavaliers.

LeBron James ‘not fond’ of NBA’s reviews of officiating

FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2016, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James warms up before the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Auburn Hills, Mich. The employee working at a pizza place in Los Angeles suburb called himself Ron. But Ron is no ordinary employee. He is LeBron James, the basketball superstar and one of the owners of the pizza chain, the Cleveland.com website reported. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Associated Press
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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James isn’t a fan of the NBA’s officiating reviews.

“I’m not fond of it,” he said Friday.

James was asked about the league’s postgame reports in the aftermath of former Miami teammate Dwyane Wade‘s complaints that he was fouled in the closing seconds of a loss to Charlotte in a pivotal Game 5 on Wednesday night. In its review of the game’s final two minutes, the league said the officials got a call correct in not assessing a foul on a play involving Wade and Hornets players Courtney Lee and Cody Zeller.

On a drive to the basket, Wade drew contact as he went up for a shot. It was one of 26 events reviewed by the league in Charlotte’s 90-88 victory.

The league has provided the “Last Two Minute Report” since March 2015, a day-later, postgame report card on what happens in the final 2 minutes of games that were within five points or less.

James, who is close friends with Wade, believes the reviews are counter-productive.

“It changes absolutely nothing,” the four-time MVP said following practice. “I think it sends a bad message to our fans of thinking the game is only won in the last two minutes. A play in the first quarter is just as important as a play in the last four seconds. That’s how playoff basketball is played, that’s how the game of basketball should be played. And I think for the youth, the kids that love the game so much, I don’t think they should hear that `Oh, it’s OK to talk about the last 2-minutes calls missed.’

“We should talk about the whole game, if that’s the case because the whole game matters. You miss an assignment in the first quarter, it can hurt you in the fourth quarter.”

On Thursday, Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations, told The Associated Press said the reviews are vital to the league’s integrity.

“It’s important that we’re completely transparent and we get the information out there and people understand that we’re upfront about it and we admit mistakes,” he said. “But also, it’s important not only for the referees but for the teams and everybody else that we also talk about the ones we got right.”

AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this report.

“Purple shirt man” trash talks Dwyane Wade through end of Heat victory

CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 29:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat reacts after making a shot late in the fourth quarter against the Charlotte Hornets during game six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Time Warner Cable Arena on April 29, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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“Purple shirt man, have a seat.”

Dwyane Wade was his vintage self through the closing minutes of Miami’s season-saving victory over Charlotte Friday night, with eight points and a key block in the final four minutes as Miami hung on for the victory.

Through the very end, “purple shirt man” would not back down, heckling Wade through the end. Not smart. Don’t make Wade angry, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. ESPN’s Michael Wallace asked Wade about it.

“He was over there telling me I should retire,” Wade, 34, told ESPN.com in the locker room. “I’m like, ‘Whatever. Not yet.’ But he was on me.”

Wade had the final word.

Well, for that game, thanks to Wade the Heat and Hornets will be playing one more.