And the NBA draft combine continues its evolution into the NFL combine. Complete with the top players not really doing anything.
Kyrie Irving, the presumptive No. 1 overall pick out of Duke, will skip all the athletic testing and drills at the NBA Combine, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Chad Ford. That combine is taking place now and for the next few days in Chicago (and can be seen on ESPNU and NBA TV).
This is new for the NBA. Guys have skipped out on the drills done on Thursday but John Wall did the Friday athletic testing, as did Blake Griffin a couple years ago. But the best players not risking their draft status and only working out in very controlled environments for teams is a staple of the NFL draft process and you’re starting to see that more and more in the NBA. As much as the agents can control that, anyway.
It’s not going to matter, in this draft Irving should go No. 1 and Cleveland wants a point guard. So it’s done, basically.
But expect the trend of top prospects skipping the drills to grow, if the NFL combine is any example.
While the rampant speculation continues about whether the Celtics may or may not trade for a superstar, Danny Ainge is filling out his roster with veterans. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News reports that they’ve agreed to a one-year minimum deal with guard Gerald Green:
Green was originally drafted by the Celtics in 2005 at No. 18 overall, and after bouncing around different teams and overseas in the first few years of his career, he’s carved out a nice niche for himself in the NBA as a scoring guard off the bench. He played 69 games for the Heat last season after two solid years in Phoenix.
The NBA has unveiled its top 100 plays of the 2015-16 season, and there’s no mystery as to what were the top two.
No. 2: Stephen Curry‘s halfcourt buzzer-beater in overtime against the Thunder in Oklahoma City during the season.
No. 1: “The Block” by LeBron James on Andre Iguodala in the final stretch of Game 7 of the Finals.
There’s plenty more, too, and if you have 25 minutes to kill, you can and should watch all of them above.
Tyler Zeller is one of the few restricted free agents left on the market who could make an actual impact next season, and on Saturday morning, he’s come off the board. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports that the fourth-year big man has agreed to a deal to stay with the Celtics. It’s for two years and $16 million, with the second season being a team option.
Zeller isn’t a starter, but he’s a nice rotation big man, especially at that price. He can play minutes off the bench for Boston, and his contract is also very movable with the second season being unguaranteed. He played just 11.8 minutes per game last season, but averaged 18.5 points and 9 rebounds per 36 minutes.
The Toronto Raptors were good last season, second best team in the East. That means the guys on Inside the NBA on TNT had to talk about them.
Which means Charles Barkley had to say “Jonas Valanciunas” a lot. Which is high comedy. While a lot of people struggle to say his name the guy is a solid NBA center who, with a little practice, you can say (and spell) his name pretty easily.
This comes from a YouTube user, via Reddit, with a hat tip to Eye on Basketball.