Brandon Knight has been avoiding going head-to-head in workouts against the other top guards in the run-up to next week’s NBA draft. If you want to see how he looks against Kemba Walker, pull out the take of the Kentucky against UConn Final Four matchup, because you will not be seeing it in a workout.
So it comes with a bit of irony that the day after Walker and Jimmer Fredette went at it head-to-head so the Utah Jazz could watch, Knight came to town to work out for the Jazz. Alone. He really looked good spinning around the chair on the floor, and if the Celtics go to that on defense Knight is going to put up big numbers.
Then Knight called out Kyrie Irving, essentially saying Irving was ducking him, according o the Salt Lake Tribune (via SLAM).
“The guy I’m trying to work out against is Kyrie Irving,” said Knight, referring to the former Duke point guard widely expected to be taken No. 1 overall by Cleveland.
Irving is not working out for anyone but the Cavs and not against anyone else. You know why? He’s the No. 1 pick. The clear No. 1 pick despite what comes out of Derrick Williams camp. Workouts only hurt him, don’t help. Him not working out is a smart strategy.
Knight… there are questions. He can score but there are questions about him at the point — he is more Tyreke Evans score-first than John Wall pass-first. A lot of people think he’s a combo guard. His left hand is questionable.
But honestly, it’s a smart strategy for him not to go head-to-head either. He’s not as strong physically as Kemba Walker and it would show up in workouts. His passing skills would be put to a difficult test. Again, there’s a bigger chance he gets hurt by workouts rather than helped. So his agent tells him to take the safe road.
That’s one reason the Jazz are still expected to take Knight No. 3 (that and the Jazz need a point guard now).
That’s fine. It’s part of the game. But you can’t call out Irving for the same thing. Unless you enjoy irony.
When De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk declared for the NBA draft, they jumped in with both feet, hiring agents.
A third Kentucky freshman, Bam Adebayo, took a more cautious approach – until now.
Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports:
Adebayo is a borderline first-round pick.
He’s a ferocious dunker. All his best skills – motor, explosiveness, physicality – come together to produce slams.
But Adebayo is an underwhelming shot-blocker and rebounder, and those same tools should translate. That speaks’ to his focus.
He has a center’s game. But at 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-1.5 wingspan, does he have a center’s size? Adebayo can’t step away from the basket or handle the ball, so if he can’t bang with NBA centers, he’s in trouble.
The Rockets were trying to protect a two-point lead as they inbounded with 7.8 seconds left in Game 4 against the Thunder on Sunday, and James Harden wanted the ball. So, the Houston star pushed off Alex Abrines.
The play still turned chaotic – Russell Westbrook tipping the inbound pass and Eric Gordon recovering the loose ball – but it never should have gotten that far. Harden should have been called for an offensive foul, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
Harden (HOU) pushes off Abrines (OKC) to create space during the inbound.
A correct call would have given Oklahoma City the ball down two with 7.8 seconds left and a real chance to tie or take the lead.
Instead, the Thunder had to intentionally foul Gordon, who hit two free throws to effectively ice a 113-109 Rockets win. Houston now leads the first-round series, 3-1.
The Cavaliers outscored the Pacers by just 16 points in their first-round series – tied for the narrowest margin ever in a four-game sweep. (The Warriors also outscored the Washington Bullets while sweeping the 1975 Finals.)
So, each Cleveland-Indiana game was close, including Sunday’s Game 4, which the Cavs won 106-102.
LeBron James hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 left to put the Cavaliers up 103-102, and they added a few free throws after intentional fouls to produce the final margin. But LeBron travelled with 1:14 left while making his move to get that 3-pointer, according to the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report:
James (CLE) moves his pivot foot at the start of his dribble.
A correct call would’ve ended Cleveland’s possession and given Indiana the ball with a two-point lead. Instead, the Pacers had only one possession before they had to begin intentionally fouling.
Would Indiana have won if the travel were called? Probably, though the odds would have been only slightly better than a coin flip.
Would the Pacers have won the series if the travel were called? Probably not. No team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit, and even a Game 4 win was far from guaranteed with a travel call. But they might have at least felt better about not getting swept.
“Give all praise to Norman Powell with his energy, his athleticism, his passion, just everything he brought to us this series.”
That was Kyle Lowry talking about what his Raptor Norman Powell, who put up a career playoff best 25 points in the Raptors’ Game 5 win. Powell played good defense on Khris Middleton and drained some deep threes to help Toronto pull away in this one. Lowry was so impressed after the game at a press conference he told the media to ask Powell questions, not him.
Oh, and Powell threw down some huge dunks, too. Just check out the video.