The draft rumors are really starting to fly.
One of the big wild cards — in a draft filled with them — is Congolese big man Bismack Biyombo. As we told you in our profile of the shot-blocking big man, pretty much everyone expects the Warriors to take him at No. 11.
Except that according to ESPN’s Chad Ford the Toronto Raptors are going to work him out on Monday and are considering taking him at No. 5. Biyombo just led the second best league in the world (Spanish ABC League) in blocked shots and he should be able to rebound at the NBA level. But his offense is atrocious.
For a Raptors team that wants to focus more on defense — especially if they do hire Dwane Casey as coach — Biyombo could make some sense. But to pass up on talented players who could be available at that spot (some combination of Kemba Walker, Brandon Knight, Enes Kanter, Jan Vesely, Kawhi Leonard will be around) would be tough to do.
If Biyombo does come off the board before they pick, what is Golden State going to do? According to the San Jose Mercury News they very much like Klay Thompson, the best shooter in the draft, who impressed them in a recent workout.
Thompson has impressed everyone. If the Warriors are serious about moving Monta Ellis (and they are, it’s just not that easy) then Thompson makes a lot of sense. You can see him next to Stephen Curry (but the Warriors would still have their defensive issues in the back court). And in a draft where there are questions about everyone, taking the guy who can shoot the lights out seems the wise and safe choice
Kobe Bryant‘s pregame tribute video stole the show in Philadelphia, but Tuesday night was Moses Malone tribute night. The former league MVP and Hall of Famer passed away in September, and his legacy was honored by the Sixers during a halftime ceremony. During the festivities, Malone’s son announced that his No. 2 will be retired by the organization next season.
There’s no question that Malone, one of the greatest players in the history of the sport, deserves to have his number retired. The only relevant question is: why didn’t this happen years ago? The ceremony next season should be good, but it would have been better if they had done it when Malone was alive to participate in it. No Sixers player has worn No. 2 since Malone anyway, but it’s been over 20 years since he last wore a Sixers jersey. Why couldn’t they have found some time in those two decades to have a ceremony and hang a banner?
Perhaps LeBron James‘ most underappreciated skill has been his passing. He is rightly hailed as the most unselfish superstar of his generation, but being a willing passer is only part of it: he’s also as good at it as any point guard in the league. Case in point: this two-handed halfcourt bounce pass on Tuesday night, finding Richard Jefferson for an easy dunk:
Kobe Bryant‘s relationship with his hometown of Philadelphia had its rocky sections — the Kobe’s Lakers beat the Sixers in the 2001 Finals, and then Kobe was booed during the 2002 All-Star Game — but all was forgiven on Tuesday night.
In his final trip to Philly, he was given a framed Lower Merion High School jersey — that’s Kobe’s school, in case you forgot — and it was presented by Dr. J.
Then the fans welcomed him like you see above.
That pumped up Kobe, who scored 13 first quarter points on 5-of-10 shooting, his best quarter of the season.
If you play for the Brooklyn Nets, and your name is not Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, expect you will come up in trade rumors this season.
First up on the block, Bojan Bogdanovic. The report comes from Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.
Bogdanovic is in the first year of a three-year, $11 million deal, which isn’t bad for a guy playing nearly 25 minutes a night and scoring 8.4 points per game. There is a lot of potential in his game, if developed in the right setting — he’s a good shooter out on the wing who works well off the ball. He seems to have regressed this season, but how much of that is due to the Nets and their guard play (and just generally struggling) is up for debate.
Is there going to be interest in him? Probably. As always, it is about the price, what the Nets will demand. Whether the Nets can get anything back they want is up for debate.
Right now a lot of GMs are testing the waters for players, judging the market. That is a long way from a trade happening. But don’t be shocked if the Nets make a deal or two before the February deadline.