There are always a few surprises, like that guy you drafted you thought was 21 turns out to be 26. Funny, but really that mistake by the Timberwolves was moot because Tanguy Ngombo was never going to play in the NBA.
But there were some surprises when the picks still mattered. Here are the three things that caught me off guard the most.
San Antonio Spurs take Corey Joseph at No. 29. Corey Joseph was going to get drafted, although probably in the second half of the second round, when all the guys considered more risky get taken. He is quick, he has a good shot, but he was an undersized combo guard and scouts were not that high on him. The Spurs were. In a lot of cases this is where I would say “what are they thinking?” but with the Spurs everybody suddenly asks, “what did I miss that they saw?” We’ll see how it pans out, but nobody saw this coming.
Cleveland Cavaliers take Tristan Thompson at No. 4. Make no mistake, Tristan Thompson can play. And you don’t want to put too much stock in his struggles in a couple games of the NCAA Tournament. He can block shots, rebound and you can’t teach length. But they passed over Jonas Valanciunas, Jan Vesley and other guys many teams had rated higher. This was a surprise because if you are Cleveland right now you need to take the best player, you need the talent, and nobody else had Thompson rated this highly.
New York Knicks take Iman Shumpert at No. 17. Knicks fans hate this pick. I don’t hate it, the guy is one of the best athletes in this draft so they took a calculated risk with him. Not a bad plan in a draft full of risks. But with a good wing defender like Chris Singleton and a rebounding machine like Kenneth Faried on the books, was this the best choice? Did raw athletic guy really address a need? It’s not that this pick was bad that makes it surprising, it’s who the Knicks had Shumpert ahead of on their draft board that shocks. They need defense and Singleton provides it for sure, can Shumpert?
A Malawian newspaper, writing about Michael Jordan’s statement on race, used the Crying Jordan photo accompany the article.
How did that happen?
A page designer who didn’t understand the meme? A joke never fixed before printing? A staff-wide ignorance of the photo’s cultural relevance?
Justin Block of The Huffington Post:
As it turns out, the newspaper is called The Nation, or The Malawi Nation. When reached for comment on Thursday afternoon, The Nation Senior News Analyst Joy Ndovi stated that using the Michael Jordan Crying meme was intentional, and said Sports Editor Garry Chirwa picked the photo.
Chirwa told us that when he read the story, he felt that the emotions packed within Jordan’s quote, “I could no longer keep silent,” were represented in the Michael Jordan Crying meme.
“I just imagined him crying,” Chirwa wrote via WhatsApp.
Ndovi echoed Chirwa’s sentiments:
The article on Jordan reacting to the violence in U.S. was just the perfect one for the meme to be used. It depicts the emotional state of the former NBA star. Though it might seem unconventional, what other photo could be more suitable than the infamous Crying Jordan meme?
I can think of a few.
Before signing with the Knicks to retire, Amar’e Stoudemire reportedly wanted to sign with the Suns this year and last.
He essentially confirmed both accounts.
Stoudemire, via Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:
“The last two years, we made phone calls to Phoenix but I wasn’t getting any positive response,” Stoudemire told azcentral sports on Thursday. “That would’ve been the perfect way to go out. I didn’t want to beg Phoenix. My heart was in two places – Phoenix and New York. I just went where I was wanted.”
According to the report, Stoudemire wanted to play for Phoenix next season — not just retire as a Sun. If that’s the case, I see why the team passed. The Suns have 15 players (the regular-season roster limit), are rebuilding and already have Tyson Chandler as a veteran big.
But if Stoudemire wanted sign an unguaranteed deal with the Suns then retire as a ceremonial move, it’s a little harder to explain Phoenix’s reluctance. Perhaps, the Suns were caught off guard by such a request. Nobody in memory had done something like that in the NBA. The gesture is far more common in football and baseball.
Either way, Stoudemire retiring as a Knick wasn’t designed to show a long-standing bitterness toward the Suns.
A recent bitterness toward the Suns? Maybe.
Karl-Anthony Towns has replaced Anthony Davis as the consensus MVP-in-waiting.
Are you ready, NBA?
Here’s a sneak preview of the Timberwolves center’s future:
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.