Start trying to picture Kyrie Irving in a wine and gold Cleveland uniform.
The Cleveland Cavaliers got some good karma (maybe from owner Dan Gilbert’s son Nick) and won the NBA Draft Lottery — not with their own pick, but with the one they got from the Clippers this past season, the one with a 2.8 percent chance of being the top pick. They traded Mo Williams and took on the contract of Baron Davis and got the pick as part of that deal.
(The Clippers liked Williams and didn’t like the draft so they made the move that was the right one, save they should have protected the pick if top 3. Not doing that really costs them now. Irving with Blake Griffin would have been dynamic.)
The Timberwolves will draft second and likely take Derrick Williams out of Arizona, which gives them another forward and makes you wonder what the future of Michael Beasley in Minnesota will be. The Utah Jazz will draft third and that’s where this draft gets murky.
The Cavs’ Byron Scott has had his best success as a coach with a strong point guard — Jason Kidd and Chris Paul — and he wants to run, which makes the selection of Irving almost a certainty. Irving is not the explosive athlete that John Wall or Derrick Rose are, but he plays a smart, balanced all-around game that has been compared to the Blazers’ Brandon Roy. That will work just fine in Cleveland, where they also have the No. 4 pick.
Here is the draft order:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers (from L.A. Clippers)
2. Minnesota Timberwolves
3. Utah Jazz
4. Cleveland Cavaliers
5. Toronto Raptors,
6. Washington Wizards
7. Sacramento Kings
8. Detroit Pistons
9. Charlotte Bobcats
10. Milwaukee Bucks
11. Golden State Warriors
12. Utah Jazz
13. Phoenix Suns
14. Houston Rockets
15. Indiana Pacers
16. Philadelphia 76ers
17. New York Knicks
18. Washington Wizards (from Atlanta)
19. Charlotte Bobcats (from New Orleans via Portland)
20. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis via Utah)
21. Portland Trailblazers
22. Denver Nuggets
23. Houston Rockets (from Orlando via Phoenix)
24. Oklahoma City Thunder
25. Boston Celtics
26. Dallas Mavericks
27. New Jersey Nets (from Los Angeles Lakers)
28. Chicago Bulls (from Miami via Toronto)
29. San Antonio Spurs
30. Chicago Bulls
Once again, Kobe Bryant‘s career arc is being compared to Michael Jordan’s.
There’s a lot of reason’s that’s flawed — starting with Kobe being drafted on to a Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal and was already considered NBA elite, as opposed to Jordan working to build a franchise up. That said, Kobe has invited the Jordan comparison at times and it has been a constant through is career. Fair or not.
Kobe is coming back this fall after seasons of injury to the NBA and those comparisons continue — now to the Wizards’ version of Jordan. And Kobe is not at all fond of that, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.
“This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”
Kobe is right. Jordan had four+ seasons off by the time he was 37 and was not coming off multiple major surgeries.
Kobe is entering his 20th NBA season and what any real basketball fan should wish for him is health. Let him play one full season (with limited minutes and nights off), let him get to the final game of this season next April and make his own decision on his future. Let him leave the game on his own terms.
That said, if Kobe can average Jordan’s numbers at that age — 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game — it will be a major accomplishment, and the Lakers will have a better record than many of us expect.
And Kobe may want to play a 21st season as well.
MILAN (AP) — The Boston Celtics eased to a 124-91 victory over Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday, comfortably winning the first of a double-header in Europe as part of the NBA Global Games.
Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Celtics with 18 points, including nine in his first seven minutes after coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.
Jared Sullinger added 14 points, as did Avery Bradley, who also had four three-pointers, while David Lee weighed in with 13 as well as seven rebounds and three assists.
Alessandro Gentile – who is reportedly wanted by the Houston Rockets, who hold NBA rights to the 22-year-old – top scored for Milano, with 19 points.
Next up for the Celtics is Real Madrid in Spain on Thursday.