Sacramento is very excited for the young man who John Salmons will be stealing shots from

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I’m starting to feel like Jimmer Fredette is the NBA equivalent of “Snakes on a Plane.” You either get it and think it’s completely awesome, or you don’t, and think it’s completely stupid.

Sacramento Kings fans? Well, they’re much like the Alamo Drafthouse Theater in Austin where I saw the opening of “Snakes on a Plane” alongside a stacked house of mostly drunk people, Quentin Tarantino, and Rosario Dawson (they were there, not like I was hanging out with them; also they were filming “Grindhouse” so Rosario looked pretty beat up and worn out). Basically, they scream at all the right parts and regardless of what the realities are of the film and its actual content, they could not be happier with what they’re experiencing.

From the Sacramento Bee:

The Jimmer jet officially touched down in Sacramento around 5 p.m. Friday afternoon, carrying Kings rookie Jimmer Fredette, and the scene at Sacramento International Airport was fit for a rock star of Bono’s ilk, not a smiling 22-year-old from upstate New York.

Welcome to the Jimmer Show.

A few hundred people crowded around baggage claim at Terminal A for a glimpse of the former BYU star, who was acquired by the Kings in the first round of Thursday’s NBA draft.

via Sacramento Kings fans turn out as Jimmer Fredette arrives – Sacramento Sports – Kings, 49ers, Raiders, High School Sports | Sacramento Bee.

It’s really great that so many people are backing a 6-2.5 “point guard” described as “more athletic than you think!” which is code for “not really athletic but saying he’s a slug is too far so we’ll say he’s athletic in an overreaction.” It’s also awesome that everyone is excited to see a score-first rookie who’s walking into a hornets nest of shoot-first guards in Marcus Thornton, Tyreke Evans, the newly acquired goldmine ( as in, he costs a fortune and you have to work to get your value back) John Salmons. The thrill is palpable.

In truth, though, maybe the Kings don’t need a playmaking, distributing point guard, and maybe Fredette’s shot-creating talents really will translate. One thing overlooked year after year by everyone, including us humble bloggers, is that there are a number of things in the NBA that happen which make no sense at all. Granted, most of them have to do with Ron Artest or the tattoo stylings of the Denver Nuggets, but the Mavericks won a championship with a 38-year-old point guard, Tyson Chandler who for years was considered a bust, and Shawn Marion who several members of the national media thought was dead. Weird stuff happens in this league.

Jimmermania actually turning out to be worth the price of admission isn’t the craziest idea ever. And for now at least, it’s got Sacramento excited about Kings basketball.

Reports: Lakers, Pacers both confident in tampering case

AP Photo/R Brent Smith
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The Lakers reportedly expect to be cleared of the tampering allegations brought by the Pacers over Paul George.

As for the Pacers?

Bob Kravitz of WTHR on The Rich Eisen Show

They feel very strongly that there were correspondences between Lakers executives and Paul George’s representative. They had heard those rumors for quite some time. They think there’s some there there.

Wishful thinking by both sides? It sure looks like it.

The Lakers probably tampered, because everybody tampers. But teams are rarely punished for it, so they can also believe they did nothing egregious enough to become an exception.

A paper trail between the Lakers – Magic Johnson or any other executive – and George’s camp would go far. But even that must be more specific. George’s agent, Aaron Mintz, also represents Lakers forward Julius Randle and former Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell. So, he’d have good reason to communicate with the organization.

I don’t know what the NBA will do here. Tampering rules are rarely and arbitrarily enforced. That gives each team plenty of room to believe it’s right.

Only two of 38 rookies surveyed say No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz will have class’s best career

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The 76ers drafted Ben Simmons No. 1 last year, believing he’d have the best career of anyone in his draft class. This year, Philadelphia traded up to draft Markelle Fultz No. 1 for the same reason.

Their fellow rookies – Simmons missed all of last season due to injury – aren’t nearly as enthused.

John Schuhmann of NBA.com conducted his annual rookie survey, polling 39 players who weren’t allowed to vote for themselves or college or NBA teammates. Thirty-eight responded to the best-career question:

Which rookie will have the best career?

1. Lonzo Ball, L.A. Lakers — 18.4%
Jayson Tatum, Boston — 18.4%

3. Josh Jackson, Phoenix — 10.5%
Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas — 10.5%

5. De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento — 7.9%

6. Markelle Fultz, Philadelphia — 5.3%
Harry Giles, Sacramento — 5.3%
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia — 5.3%

Others receiving votes: Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn; John Collins, Atlanta; Jonathan Isaac, Orlando; Luke Kennard, Detroit; Kyle Kuzma, L.A. Lakers; Donovan Mitchell, Utah; Malik Monk, Charlotte

Simmons might not have come to mind to players at the rookie photo shoot, which was for the most recent draft class. And rookies have tended to pick someone other than the No. 1 pick for this question. Anthony Davis in 2012 was the last No. 1 pick to lead voting. Simmons tied for fourth at 6.7% last year – behind Brandon Ingram, Kris Dunn and Buddy Hield. Even Karl-Anthony Towns landed behind Jahlil Okafor in 2015.

But so few votes for Fultz – the consensus top prospect in the draft – is fairly stunning.

Dennis Smith Jr. received the most votes for Rookie of the Year, but at just 25.7%. A large majority of rookies picked someone other than the Mavericks point guard.

Lonzo Ball (71.8% for best playmaker) was the only player to receive a majority of votes in a category. Luke Kennard (48.6% for best shooter) and Smith (43.6% for most athletic), who each tripled second place, came close.

LeBron James reemerged as rookies’ favorite player after a three-year run by Kevin Durant. Maybe that Warriors backlash if finally catching up to Durant?

Kendall Marshall, Marshall Plumlee headline Team USA’s AmeriCup roster

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AmeriCup, previously called the FIBA Americas Championship, lost its luster when FIBA decided the continental tournament wouldn’t double as World Cup qualifying.

But the U.S. is still sending a team, coached by Jeff Van Gundy. The roster (team last season):

  • Billy Baron (UCAM Murcia, Spain)
  • Alec Brown (Windy City Bulls)
  • Larry Drew II (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
  • Reggie Hearn (Reno Bighorns)
  • Darrun Hilliard (Detroit Pistons)
  • Jonathan Holmes (Canton Charge);
  • Kendall Marshall (Reno Bighorns)
  • Xavier Munford (Greensboro Swarm)
  • Marshall Plumlee (New York Knicks)
  • Jameel Warney (Texas Legends)
  • C.J. Williams (Texas Legends)
  • Reggie Williams (Oklahoma City Blue)

The Americans should still be favored, though obviously not as overwhelming as they’d be with NBA players, in a field also comprised of Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Uruguay, Panama and U.S. Virgin Islands.

This will be a good benchmark, as the U.S. might take a similar roster into World Cup qualifying.

Report: Tampering investigation stems from Magic Johnson’s TV interview

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In April, new Lakers president Magic Johnson went on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and discussed then-Pacers forward Paul George:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

Now, the Lakers – at Indiana’s request – are being investigated for tampering.

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

The investigation, which has been going on since May, stemmed from comments Magic Johnson made on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” that angered Pacers owner Herb Simon, according to several NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

This doesn’t mean the Pacers believe Johnson tampered with his televised comments. It seems as if that was the last straw following numerous rumors about George going to Los Angeles.

However, there’s a case Johnson’s televised remarks alone would constitute tampering. The Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibits “assurances of intent, or understandings of any kind (whether disclosed or undisclosed to the NBA), between a player (or any person or entity controlled by, related to, or acting with authority on behalf of, such player) and any Team (or Team Affiliate)” – and even attempts to solicit assurance of intent or understanding – when the player is still under contract with another team. Johnson sure appeared to do that.

But it’d be shocking if Johnson or the Lakers were punished for the interview alone. Indiana probably needs more evidence.

Then again, the arbitrary way the NBA enforces tampering, who knows?