Russell Westbrook arrived at the arena in Golden State dressed for a (very weird) funeral.
The Thunder, up 3-1 in the Western Conference finals, can end the Warriors’ season tonight. So, Westbrook dressed ready to give his condolences.
Lest you think this is coincidence, he also wore black for Game 5 against the Mavericks and Game 6 against the Spurs. Jason Potter:
This is something players sometimes do – and I love it. What a great way to who your confidence, and I’m not sure any NBA player has more than Westbrook.
The withdrawal deadline for the 2016 NBA draft is June 13.
But the NCAA, in an effort to treat players better, allowed players to declare for the draft and withdraw by May 25 while maintaining college eligibility. (Yes, this qualifies as better treatment. Giving the players the full extra couple weeks to assess their futures? Not in this cartel.)
So, any college player who wanted to play collegiately next year faced an effective deadline of yesterday.
Of the 117 players who declared early through the American system, 57 are headed back to their college teams.
This list has no big surprises. By this point, most highly touted prospects have already declared their intention.
Here are all 57:
- Abdul-Malik Abu, North Carolina State
- BeeJay Anya, North Carolina State
- Ian Baker, New Mexico State
- V.J. Beachem, Notre Dame
- James Blackmon Jr., Indiana
- Antonio Blakeney, LSU
- Jaron Blossomgame, Clemson
- Trevon Bluiett, Xavier
- Amida Brimah, Connecticut
- Isaiah Briscoe, Kentucky
- Dillon Brooks, Oregon
- Elijah Brown, New Mexico
- Deonte Burton, Iowa State
- Antonio Campbell, Ohio
- Conor Clifford, Washington State
- Charles Cooke III, Dayton
- Bakari Copeland, Maryland-Eastern Shore
- Moustapha Diagne, Northwest Florida State
- Tyler Dorsey, Oregon
- D’Andre Downey, Stillman College (AL)
- Vince Edwards, Purdue
- Jimmy Hall, Kent State
- Josh Hart, Villanova
- Josh Hawkinson, Washington State
- Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin
- Ike Iroegbu, Washington State
- Justin Jackson, North Carolina
- Kris Jenkins, Villanova
- Que Johnson, Washington State
- Peter Jok, Iowa
- Moses Kingsley, Arkansas
- Travion Kirkendoll, Centenary College (LA)
- Dedric Lawson, Memphis
- Marcus Lee, Kentucky
- Makai Mason, Yale
- Jahmal McMurray, South Florida
- Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina
- Dallas Moore, North Florida
- Jalen Moore, Utah State
- Tyrell Nelson, Gardner-Webb
- Malik Newman, Mississippi State
- Marc-Eddy Norelia, Florida Gulf Coast
- Cameron Oliver, Nevada
- Alec Peters, Valparaiso
- QJ Peterson, VMI
- Malik Pope, San Diego State
- Rodney Purvis, Connecticut
- Corey Sanders Jr., Rutgers
- Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
- Rakish Taylor, Anderson University (SC)
- Ethan Telfair, Idaho State
- Trevor Thompson, Ohio State
- Melo Trimble, Maryland
- Maurice Watson Jr., Creighton
- Andrew White III, Nebraska
- Alec Wintering, Portland
- Zeek Woodley, Northwestern State
DeAndre Jordan received 317.
Yet, Jordan made the first team while Green made the second team.
The NBA explained in its official release:
Players who received votes at multiple positions were slotted at the position where they received the most votes.
Green got 85 votes at forward and 39 at center, so he was eligible only at forward. Jordan got all 89 of his votes at center.
That’s perfectly reasonable, but it wasn’t always this way.
The NBA changed its rules last offseason after 2015 voting concluded, according to league spokesman Tim Frank. Instead of sliding players to a position they rarely played if they got any votes there, players are now eligible at only the position where they received the most votes (though voters can still mostly slot players where they deem appropriate on individual ballots). An increase in multi-position players sparked the new policy.
And, fundamentally, it’s good switch. The league should have a clear policy and stick with it rather than trying to interpret the line on a case-by-case basis.
Sure, there’s room for quibbling. Is 50% the right threshold rather than, say, 30% Would basing it on points rather than votes work better? Will all forward/centers get tilted toward forward because there are twice as many All-NBA slots at forward than at center? There’s no perfect solution.
But, more than anything, a clear and fair policy – and this is both – is better than no set policy.
This is also a noteworthy policy, because it had a clear effect this year.
If Green were the first-team center, Paul George would’ve made the second team at forward and Paul Millsap would’ve been a third-team forward. (Thankfully, Millsap finished ahead of Anthony Davis – who played both power forward and center, got more votes at forward and could’ve made about $25 million more over the next five years due to the Derrick Rose rule – or else this would’ve been a much bigger can of worms). Jordan would’ve been the second-team center, DeMarcus Cousins third-team and Andre Drummond bumped.
On the flip side, adopting the current rule sooner would’ve changed some results from the last couple years.
Cousins was an All-NBA second-team forward last year despite getting more votes at center, and Pau Gasol was the All-NBA second-team center despite getting more votes at forward – which obviously means the net effect is nil.
A more significant position bend came with the 2014 All-Defensive team. Andre Iguodala was a first-team guard despite getting more votes at forward. Holding him at forward would’ve sent him to the second team and bumped Kawhi Leonard. Patrick Beverley would’ve gone to the first team and Tony Allen to the second team at guard.
So, of course they hired someone who’s not particularly interested in defense.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
D’Antoni can be an excellent coach if he has a roster that fits his up-tempo spread style, and a defensive coordinator would also help (Sorry, James). If Houston is committed to surrounding D’Antoni with the requisite resources, this could be a strong hire. On the bright side, this roster is ripe for turnover – notably Dwight Howard, who clashed with D’Antoni on the Lakers.
Most of all, the Rockets just needed a fresh start after last season’s stinker. They were bound to get that no matter whom they hired.
It’ll be on D’Antoni to prove he can provide more of a bump than any viable coach would’ve.
At minimum, though, Houston should be more exciting.