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

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.