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 draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry
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The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.

Is Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Lionel Messi

Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.

Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?

“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.

“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”

I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.

But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.