Kyle Lowry honored, appreciative if you believe he was an All-Star snub

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The reserves for the 2012 NBA All-Star game were announced a couple of hours before the Rockets tipped off in Phoenix against the Suns. And while Kyle Lowry was no lock to make the team, many believed he was deserving and had an outside shot of being selected.

It didn’t turn out that way, but it didn’t seem to bother Lowry in the slightest. He played his usually solid all-around game, finishing with 14 points in 25 minutes, while helping his team to a 96-89 victory over the Suns.

Lowry was humbled by the idea that some would consider him to be “snubbed” when we asked him about it afterward.

“All those guys that were chosen as All-Stars, they’re deserving of it,” Lowry told NBCSports.com. “I’m happy for all of the guys who made the team, and to be mentioned myself in that category, it’s an honor for that alone. If people say I got snubbed, then thank you. I appreciate it. But as long as my team’s winning, going along and winning games that we’re supposed to win, hey — I’m happy.”

On paper, the Rockets were probably “supposed to win” on Thursday in Phoenix. Despite the Suns winning four of their last five, the Rockets were  coming off of a dismantling of the Portland Trail Blazers the night before, and had crushed the Suns by 18 points less than a week ago back in Houston.

This one wasn’t quite that easy; in fact, the Suns led by as many as nine and erased a lead of double-digits before Houston was able to take control down the stretch. Goran Dragic — traded from the Suns to the Rockets a season ago for Aaron Brooks, who is now playing in China — was really the difference-maker in this one, dominating the second unit and putting up 11 points and 11 assists in under 30 minutes.

Lowry, though, seems to be all about the results. While he didn’t make the cut for the All-Star team this season, he was genuinely happy for those who had, while still keeping that internal fire burning for a potential spot on a team at some point in the future.

When told that his head coach, Kevin McHale, said that the team’s record likely played a factor in Lowry’s exclusion from the All-Star roster, Lowry said that getting wins (big picture) is what’s most important.

“If coach said it, I appreciate that,” Lowry said. “We’d love a few more wins, just because it would help us with positioning in the West. We take what we can get. We go out there, we grind it out every day, and I’m happy with the results of the wins that we’re getting.”

Lowry didn’t seem too concerned or upset by a so-called “All-Star snub,” but making the squad is definitely something he hopes to achieve at some point in the future.

“Maybe the opportunity comes next year or in years after,” he said. “But I’ll work hard to get better as a player.”

Knicks’ Joakim Noah has expected shoulder surgery to repair rotator cuff

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NEW YORK (AP) — Knicks center Joakim Noah has had right shoulder surgery to repair his rotator cuff, a procedure that could sideline him until training camp.

The Knicks say Noah had the surgery Wednesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, performed by Dr. David Altchek.

The team didn’t give a timetable for Noah’s recovery, but coach Jeff Hornacek said late in the season that if Noah had the operation, the recovery time could be five months.

Noah had an injury-plagued season that ended early when he was suspended 20 games by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. There are still 12 games remaining on the penalty that he will have to serve next season when healthy.

Noah had surgery on his other shoulder last season, limiting him to 29 games in his final season in Chicago before signing a four-year, $72 million deal with New York.

PBT Extra: Pacers offseason moves starts with Paul George question

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Larry Bird, when not delivering All-Star Game bids, should be spending his time lighting candles and praying in churches all over Indianapolis that Paul George makes an All-NBA team.

If PG13 makes the cut, Bird’s job this summer becomes more clear: Offer George the designated player max extension, get him to sign the deal, then get back to building a contender around him.

If George doesn’t make the cut, things get much tougher for Bird. I discuss all of it in this new PBT Extra.

Fans to vote on “Best Dunk,” “Best Assist,” other categories handed out at NBA Awards show

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Fans are going to get their say at the NBA Awards Show, coming June 26 on TNT. Drake will be the host, and we to come up with an under/over on the number of players Drake gives a bro hug to during the ceremony.

That’s the night the NBA will hand out its Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Coach of the Year, and every other major postseason award — except for All-NBA Team, which has to come earlier. The media have already cast their votes for these awards.

Where the fans get to come in is the fun awards, categories created just for this event:

• Dunk of the Year
• Best Style
• Block of the Year
• Assist of the Year
• Game Winner of the Year
• Top Performance of the Year

The NBA already narrowed down the list of choices for each category to three, and voting opens tonight. Just go to  www.nba.com/nbaawards and cast your ballot, or on Twitter or Facebook just post the #AwardName and First/Last Name of their winner (for example, #DunkOfTheYear  Larry Nance).

These awards should add some energy — and good highlights — to what has the potential to be a stuffy event. It’s a bunch of NBA players in suits in a ballroom in New York, this is going to feel like a branding event at times. The NBA is hoping the fans can liven it up.

Here are the categories, with the hashtags for voting:

#DunkOfTheYear
• Los Angeles Lakers’ Larry Nance, Jr. vs. Brooklyn

• Minnesota’s Zach LaVine vs. Phoenix

• Oklahoma City’s Victor Oladipo vs. Atlanta

#BestStyle
• Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert
• Chicago’s Dwyane Wade
• Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook

#BlockOfTheYear
• San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard vs. Houston
• New York’s Kristaps Porzingis vs. Brooklyn
• Miami’s Hassan Whiteside vs. Toronto

#GameWinnerOfTheYear
• Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving vs. Golden State
• Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook vs. Denver
• Phoenix’s Tyler Ulis vs. Boston

#TopPerformanceOfTheYear
• Phoenix’s Devin Booker 70-point game vs. Boston
• Houston’s James Harden nets 53-16-17 triple double vs. New York
• Golden State’s Klay Thompson scores 60 in three quarters vs. Indiana
• Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook with most points in a triple-double, 57-13-11, vs. Orlando

#AssistOfTheYear
• Golden State’s Draymond Green to Stephen Curry to Kevin Durant
• Denver’s Nikola Jokic with no-look pass
• LA Clippers’ Chris Paul with wraparound pass

Report: USC’s Elijah Stewart intended to declare for NBA draft, forgot

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Declaring for the NBA draft is like declaring bankruptcy: You can’t just bellow it and expect it to take effect. You actually have to fill out the paperwork.

That’s why USC’s Elijah Stewart wasn’t among the 192 early entrants to the 2017 NBA draft.

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:

Stewart:

Givony’s report will do little but embarrass Stewart. It’s unlikely Stewart would’ve been drafted, and he likely would have withdrawn to return to USC for his senior season. Perhaps, he would’ve gotten helpful feedback from the NBA before that point, but that’s minimal.

The real problem, though, isn’t Stewart’s inattentiveness, to whatever extent is exists. It’s that the NCAA won’t allow players to maintain eligibility while having an agent.

If Stewart had proper representation, there’d be no questioning whether he intended to declare for the draft. His agent would’ve handled it, one way or the other.

If the NCAA were truly about educating players, it’d allow them to have guidance from experienced professional agents. Agents don’t have to conflict with amateurism (not that amateurism is a worthy goal, anyway).

But teaching players is not the NCAA’s true goal. The NCAA prioritizes keeping its cartel in tact and money flowing to coaches and administrators.

Agents might steer players from that corrupt system entirely or at least help them leverage their immense power to gain better compensation than a wage-fixed scholarship.

This incident should spark discussion about the unseemly lengths the NCAA goes to to protect its money-makers from its revenue-generators. Instead, it’s much easier to make Stewart a punchline.