If the NBA draft is age 20 and over, who goes No. 1?

5 Comments

It was not in the official proposal from the owners to the players (the ultimatum offer that the players not only rejected but dissolved the union over), but you can bet it will be in the next one:

The owners want the draft age to go to 20. No more one-and-done with college, they want two-and-done. Why? Because the owners like the idea of more scouting time for players and for the NCAA to start to make guys stars before they get to the NBA. Who knows if it will be in the CBA, but the owners want it.

Which leads to the question: If the draft is 20 and over next June, what is the draft order?

Right now, Anthony Davis of Kentucky will be No. 1 pick (scouts think he has Kevin Garnett level potential), but he is a one-and-done. If he and Andre Drummond (the center for UConn) are out of the top two spots, who is in?

Here is a top five, based on a fun debate on ESPN, some thoughts from David Thorpe and DraftExpress.com.

1. Harrison Barnes, North Carolina. The swingman would have been a top three pick last year if he had come out, but staying in he is now the best non big on the board. He can slash and create his own shot but also has a nice outside touch to go with it. But as David Thorpe points out at ESPN, maybe the most interesting thing about Barnes is he is a good defender. Everyone needs a wing defender.

2. Perry Jones, Baylor. He is like Anthony Davis in raw talent — this is a 6-11 guy who can play on the wing and should dominate both in college and at the next level. The red flag is you only see it in flashes. He could be a KG type talent, or he could be JaVale McGee. That should scare off more teams than it will.

3. Jared Sullinger, Ohio State. Another guy that would have been a top pick but returned. He’s a big bodied, smart guy who can play solidly in the league for years. Right now everybody says they would take him above Perry Jones, but come the draft GMs always fall in love with potential and Jones has a higher ceiling. That said, Sullinger will be good and dependable.

4. Thomas Robinson, Kansas. He’s a good college power forward who may be a bit undersized for that role in the NBA. Still, he has good offensive post moves and unlike Jones you have to like how hard he plays every night. To borrow a line from Thorpe, energy is a talent.

5. John Henson, North Carolina. What team doesn’t need a shot blocking, rebounding big man in the paint? Did you see the last three NBA champions? They each had a guy who could control the paint and the boards. It matters, and Henson could be that guy for someone.

Chris Paul thanks Clipper fans in online statement

chris paul
1 Comment

Chris Paul is as competitive a guy as there is in the NBA — he and James Harden are not the smoothest fit next to one another, but he would rather team with another star and go hard at the Warriors juggernaut than sit back and collect a check.

That’s why CP3 wanted to go to the Rockets as part of the trade reported Wednesday.

But before he left, he wanted to say thank you to Clippers fans.

Paul is committed to his charity causes, he’s not giving those up. He’s likely keeping his home in Los Angeles, too — L.A. is the unofficial off-season home of the NBA anyway.

Rockets make series of cash trades for expiring contracts to help line up Chris Paul deal

Leave a comment

While everyone was rightfully raving about the move by the Houston Rockets to trade for Chris Paul — you have to love a team not cowering from the Warriors but willing to take them on Game of Thrones style — there was one little catch. The trade, as first announced, didn’t pencil out.

Because the Rockets were over the cap, this trade needs to be a salary match. The Clippers were getting back nice young players in Sam Decker and Montrezl Harrell, plus a first-round pick, but the salaries still didn’t match up. Then a string of small cash deals for expiring contracts started rolling in.

All those deals are official — and led to one of the funniest tweets of the year.

All three of those players will head to the Clippers as part of the official trade, but then be waived by the Clippers so they don’t actually pay them.

Also of note, by staying above the salary cap line (as opposed to diving below it to absorb CP3’s contract) the Rockets will keep their mid-level exception, giving them a full $8.4 million to spend in free agency to get a role player to help fill out the roster in Houston.

The Rockets are not done big game hunting, GM Daryl Morey is reportedly going after Paul George and maybe free agents such as Paul Millsap. Carmelo Anthony reportedly would like a buyout so he can get to Houston now, but with Phil Jackson gone and $55 million owed over the next few years that seems more up in the air. Regardless, expect the Rockets to keep making small moves to set up big ones.

Reports: Rockets not done, looking at Paul George, other possible third big star

3 Comments

If you’re going to go toe-to-toe with the Golden State Warriors, you can’t have enough elite talent on the roster. Which is turning the Western Conference into a Game of Thrones.

Houston has James Harden and just added Chris Paul — and GM Daryl Morey is not done, he’s targeting Paul George and other stars. That according to multiple reports from ESPN, starting with Jeff Goodman.

Rockets GM Daryl Morey not done yet, source told ESPN. Harden and CP3. Will try to add a third star to compete with Warriors.

The logistics of this would be difficult, but not impossible. The Pacers want a first-round pick, which the Rockets can include if the Pacers will wait until 2020 (the Rockets 2018 pick goes to the Clippers, 1-3 protected, which means they can’t trade 2019). With Sam Decker traded to LA, the Rockets may not have a young player of interest outside of Clint Capella (the Pacers have Myles Turner at center), but the Rockets have made a series of cash deals for non-guaranteed contracts to make this work with the Clippers and pave the way for future deals.

Also possible, the Rockets look for a way to land Paul Millsap (or maybe a lesser version, like Serge Ibaka) in free agency.

The Rockets also could target guys such as Carmelo Anthony or Dwyane Wade, if they are bought out. Anthony is rumored to want a buyout to go to Houston now, but with Phil Jackson out and being owed $55 million over a couple years, that may not happen.

The point is the Rockets are going all in — they see the window as now and, unlike much of the rest of the West and the NBA, they are not going to wait and hope for the Warriors to wilt in a few years.

Knicks fans celebrating Phil Jackson’s departure on social media

3 Comments

When the Knicks hired Phil Jackson, he was a beacon of hope for an organization that had seen dark days. Jackson was going to keep owner James Dolan out of basketball decisions (he did that) and provide a direction for the franchise (he failed to do that).

Now, three year’s later, Jackson is out as president of the Knicks.

That had Knicks fans celebrating on social media.

HALLELUJAH.

A post shared by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

That’s just a small sampling. So all is good with the Knicks now, right?