Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter says he’s the best player in the draft

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Turkish center prospect Enes Kanter is something of a mystery to NBA teams, since he was forced to sit on the bench for Kentucky all season long after the NCAA ruled him ineligible. On draft media day, however, Kanter made one thing crystal clear: he does not lack for confidence. SB Nation’s Mike Prada has the report:

Because of his status, Kanter decided to go on the offensive during Wednesday’s media session. He was exceedingly confident throughout his 30-minute interview, making a bold declaration midway through that jarred a lot of people there.

“I believe if I could have played [at Kentucky], I would go with the No. 1 pick,” he said. “I believe I am the best player in this draft…”

Later, he downplayed the significance of sitting out a year.

“I’m not worried about anything,” he said. “Even if I could have played, I would have just played like, 22-24 games, because we’d have won many games by 30. I don’t think I missed anything…”

… [Kanter] couldn’t help but drift back again to the year he missed and what might have been had he stayed at Kentucky.

“We would have won the National title,” he blurted out at one point.

A reporter followed up. “Easily?”

“Yes,” was the immediate response.

Okay then. Kanter will almost certainly go behind both Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams unless David Kahn decides to get really bold on draft day, but it sounds like he’s determined to make any team that passes on him realize they made the mistake. (The Cavaliers, of course, will likely have the opportunity to draft both Irving and Kanter if the Jazz select a point guard with their #3 pick.)

Everyone knew that Kanter was one of the biggest and most skilled players in the draft. Now it looks like he’s got the confidence (or ego) to match that size and skill. If Kanter does turn out to be a bust in the NBA, it won’t be because he didn’t believe in himself.

Players’ union, NBA to set up cardiac screening for retired players

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First it was Darryl Dawkins. Then it was Moses Malone.

Two all-time great players who recently died — and at t0o young an age, 58 and 60 respectively — from undiagnosed heart conditions. Even before that, recognizing the issue the NBA players union and the league itself were setting up supplemental health coverage to provide cardiac screening for retired players, something ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan recently broke.

The joint effort between union executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver — at a time when there still may be potentially acrimonious labor negotiations looming for their sides — is intended to ease the health concerns of its retired players.

Roberts said action from the players’ association on providing screening for its retired players is “imminent.”

“I wish I could give you an exact timetable, but we have to make sure all the components are in place,” Roberts told ESPN recently. “I will tell you we hope to have something sooner than later.”

The Cardiologists are affiliated with the NBA already, and some of the money will come from the league, while the union is both pitching in a chunk of cash and is the one organizing this, according to the report.

It’s good to Roberts and Silver working together on this. While you’d like to think this would be the kind of no-brainer move that the league and union would work together on, in the past the relationship didn’t always facilitate this sort of cooperation even on the obvious.

I’d like to think this bodes well for future labor talks, but I’m not willing to completely draw that parallel.


Stephen Curry drops 30 on Portland in preseason (VIDEO)

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Somebody is in midseason form.

Stephen Curry put up 30 on Portland in a preseason game Thursday night, hitting six threes and getting to the line 15 times over the course of his less than 26 minutes. It was quite a show.

Portland won the game 118-101 behind 25 points from Allen Crabbe and 22 from Damian Lillard. Not a lot of defense in this one but it was fun to watch.