Etan Thomas lays out the players’ case in labor strife

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Etan Thomas can flat out write.

Which makes the Atlanta forward’s explanation of where the players are coming from in the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement must reading over at Hoopshype.

You don’t have to agree with it — if you want to side with the ultra rich owners over the wealthy players go ahead, personally I don’t think either side has a monopoly on the truth — but you should read it.

In a similar manner, the NBA presented the Players Association with a proposal that appeared to be more like a Christmas List to Santa Claus than the start of an actual negotiation. The NBA expressed desires of a new imposed hard cap, removal of all guaranteed contracts, drastic economic concessions and a guaranteed profit for each team. They wanted to ensure that no matter what poor business decisions individual teams make (economic, personnel, etcetera) they all can expect guaranteed profits.

Greed should not be the determining factor that takes an entire season, or possibly more, away from the fans. They deserve better than that…

The NBA’s “concession” of backing off their desire for non-guaranteed contracts, but implementing a hard cap system is fool’s gold. It absolutely does us no good. There would still be roll backs. Each contract would have to conform to a hard cap system, meaning they could be reduced by as much as a third depending on the actual hard number agreed upon. It would cut out the middle class completely. Two guys may be able to obtain an actual contract while it will be difficult for the rest of the team to get guaranteed deals, etcetera, etcetera.

This cannot be a starting point for us. They have in essence tried to insult our intelligence by making us think that something they have “given us” is a slam dunk when in reality its very far from progress. Again, it’s fool’s gold. Not to mention the fact that we already have guaranteed contracts as well as a soft cap system. They have put two non-starters for us on the table and tried to begin negotiating from that standpoint.

We might as well had told them that we’re going to back off our desire of having no salary cap (which has proven to work in baseball no matter what they say) and wait for their “response” and see what they were willing to give back to us in exchange for the gracious concession we just made for them.

Go read it. Agree with it or don’t, but you’ll have a better understanding of where the players are coming with as we settle in for what looks like a long lockout.

Chris Paul’s son joins him on Clippers bench in rout of Lakers (video)

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Is this disrespectful to the Lakers? Absolutely.

And I love it.

Chris Paul and the Clippers crushed their Los Angeles counterparts, 133-109, last night. The Clippers, who’ve won 13 of 14 in the series, have practically run out of ways to show up their crosstown rival on the court. If it now takes bench visitors, so be it.

This is the best late-blowout bench behavior since LeBron James led the Cavaliers in the water-bottle challenge in a December win over the Knicks. This would rank higher if Chris Jr. didn’t also joined the bench in the Clippers’ November win over the Mavericks, which is the pictured on this post.

Jawun Evans leaving Oklahoma State for NBA draft

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You’ve probably heard of the top college point guards for the 2017 NBA draft: Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr., De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk. You might have even heard of French point guard prospect Frank Ntilikina.

Which point guard will be drafted next after those six?

One possibility: Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans.

Evan Daniels of Scout:

Evans looks like a second-round pick, but a dearth of point guards projected into the latter half of the first round could boost his stock.

He’s ultra quick and ultra aggressive and led the nation’s top KenPom offense. Evans relentlessly attacks the rim, often while forcing transition opportunities. That gets defenses scrambled, creating kickout-passing lanes and offensive-rebound opportunities.

However, the 6-foot Evans doesn’t finish that well at the rim – creating a major question about how he’ll translate to the NBA. The bigger defenders in the paint might limit his kickout passes, too.

His size also presents major problems defensively, though a 6-foot-4 wingspan at least helps.

Evans is good enough on jumpers to keep defenses honest, and at Oklahoma State, he had to create so much for himself. It’d be interesting to see whether limiting his burden improves his efficiency or whether his helpfulness is limited to having the ball in his hands.

My guess is the latter, and I’m unconvinced he’s good enough to demand such a role in the NBA. But the possibility is strong enough that I’d be excited about rolling the dice on him in the second round.

Shabazz Muhammad awkwardly mentions Collective Bargaining Agreement during halftime interview (video)

AP Photo/Jim Mone
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The Timberwolves surprisingly led the Spurs by nine at halftime last night, which takes us to Shabazz Muhammad‘s mid-game interview.

Muhammad:

We’re doing a great job on defense, Wiggs, myself, everybody. It’s a tough team, especially Kawhi and the guys. So, we’re doing a really good job and everybody’s collective – Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Um. What?

To be fair, I can’t even imagine what type of nonsense I’d spew in the midst of a taxing workout or a high-pressure situation – let alone something that qualifies as both.

Unfortunately for Muhammad, Minnesota eventually fell to San Antonio, 100-93. But hopefully, he can laugh at this moment. He should, at least.

hat tip: reddit user cjsplash

Duke’s Jayson Tatum, California’s Ivan Rabb declare for NBA draft

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Wednesday a couple of forwards expected to go in the first round of June’s NBA draft said they plan on making the jump to the NBA.

As expected, Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Cal’s Ivan Rabb made their decisions official.

Duke announced Tatum’s decision.

Tatum is expected to be a top-five pick, DraftExpress.com currently has him as the No. 4 pick. The 6’8″ wing can flat-out score the rock, which is why teams are intrigued, as Rob Dauster of NBC’s College Basketball Talk told us in a recent podcast. However, teams wonder if he can create shots for others and not just himself, and if he’s going to be a good defender at the NBA level. He has the physical tools to do be a good defender, but will he put in the work game in, game out?

Rabb is a 6’10” sophomore who has a great NBA build and athleticism to spare, but at the NBA level everyone is a great athlete. Rabb doesn’t have a great perimeter game and needs to develop one and be a consistent defensive force to be a difference maker (or have a lengthy career) at the NBA level. DraftExpress.com has him going 22nd in this draft, and his stock seems to have fallen over the course of the season.