NBA Draft: PBT's second rounders to watch

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Zoubek_duke.jpgMichael Redd. Carlos Boozer. Gilbert Arenas. Dennis Rodman. Manu Ginobili.

Guys fall through to the second round that can ball. Guys like those above. History tells us most of the guys drafted in the second round Thursday will get a shot in the NBA, only 10 or so will stick, but one or two will be steals. Some GM is going to take the right risk.

Here are the guys you want to see your team take in the second round.

Ryan Richards: If I have one NBA Draft rule, it’s don’t take a British teenager. But there has to be an exception to every rule. He is a 6’10” bundle of raw, but with great athleticism and a smooth jumper. To me the second round should be about risks. This is the kind of guy you draft then send to the D-League for a year or two. Get him some personal coaching. He hasn’t found a home in Europe and may be a guy who is a good athlete but has no feel for the game. The playgrounds of Kent don’t teach you that. But he also could learn and turn out to be special. He’s worth the risk after pick 40. –Kurt Helin

Samardo Samuels: Samuels has a terrific set of fundamentals (footwork, awareness, etc.) but is a 6-8 PF/C. He’s the very definition of undersized. But in the second round you can handle the risk on kids that can “just play.” Samuels is a smart acquisition for a team with some house money in the second. –Matt Moore

Brian Zoubek: In the second round, I’m an Occam’s Razor guy. Too many teams try to get way, way too cute with their second-round picks. If you can easily picture a second-round pick being an NBA rotation player for the next couple of years, he’s worthy of a second-round pick.

I can picture Zoubek being an NBA rotation player. He was the center on an NCAA Championship, he’s played under pressure at Duke, he’s played under Coach K, and he knows his role. Zoubek was the best per-minute offensive rebounder in college basketball last season, and his True Shooting Percentage was at 64%. Is he going to be the next Manu Ginobili or Carlos Boozer? Almost certainly not. But he could be a 7-foot version of Jon Brockman. In the second round, a team could do a lot worse than a 7-foot version of Jon Brockman. –John Krolik

Mikhail Torrance: Maybe it’s just my affinity for big point guards, but I see a 6’5” playmaker and go weak in the knees. Not only does Torrance’s size afford him some advantages at the point, but I’m very interested in seeing what having a 6’5” PG means on defense. Mikhail isn’t seen as a defensive standout, but having a point with off-guard size means that a team can do some interesting things with undersized shooting guards. Maybe that’s just me being whimsical, but either way, Mikhail is a legitimate point guard with some flash. –Rob Mahoney

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.

Report: Other small-market teams championing Pacers’ tampering allegation against Lakers

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The NBA, at the Pacers’ request, is investigating whether the Lakers tampered by making impressible contact with Paul George.

Bob Kravitz of WTHR

In fact, there’s word that other small- and mid-market team officials have reached out to the Pacers and told them, “Good for you. Fight the good fight.”

Small-market teams whine too much about the disadvantages they face, but tampering isn’t really a market-size issue. Remember, under Mitch Kupchak, the Lakers were known as the only team that didn’t tamper.

The Lakers have advantages because George is from the area, and Los Angeles offers immense marketability. That’d be true whether or not they contacted George or his agent before he officially became a free agent.

I understand the desire to take down the big, bad Lakers – especially now that they appear poised to become truly big and bad again. But it’s hard to find a team that can cast a stone at them from anywhere other than a glass house.