North Carolina is going to be a very different team next year as four-fifths of its starting lineup will be in in the NBA.
John Henson, Harrison Barnes and Kendall Marshall all will leave the university as underclassmen and enter the NBA draft, North Carolina has announced. (The fourth starter to leave is senior Tyler Zeller.)
There is no real surprise here, all three are underclassmen are considered solid first round picks, with Barnes and Henson in the lottery and Marshall on the fringe. It was expected they would throw their names into the draft.
Barnes almost left after his freshman year (he was considered a top five pick last year) but returned to have an up-and-down season that culminated in some uninspiring play in the NCAA Tournament. He can shoot and has a smooth game, plus he can defend (although there are questions how well he can do that against the elite athletes he will face at the next level. DraftExpress has the versatile small forward now going No. 7 overall.
Henson, the very athletic 6’11” power forward (who is a bit raw on offense), is ranked right behind him at No. 8 by the same site. Marshall, the point guard who had to miss his final college games due to a broken wrist, is ranked No. 14. (Zeller is slotted to go No. 10 by DraftExpress.)
That is four potential lottery picks leaving in one year. Michael Jordan may be almost as unhappy as Roy Williams.
The Pistons will start Reggie Jackson at point guard, and they signed Ish Smith to provide better backup at the position.
The competition for the third point guard spot is heating up.
With Lorenzo Brown and Ray McCallum already signed to unguaranteed deals, Detroit is adding undrafted Old Dominion guard Trey Freeman.
Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops:
The Pistons have just 14 players – one shy of the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries. The final spot will very likely go to a point guard.
Brown and McCallum should be favored in the competition, because they’re more NBA-ready. A president/coach, Stan Van Gundy is more prone to covet the player who can step in immediately.
Freeman’s partial guarantee is likely designed to entice him to play in the D-League for a low base salary. The Pistons can waive him in the preseason and then assign his D-League rights to their affiliate, though he’d become an NBA free agent.
Freeman is working to become a better distributor after playing as a go-to scorer in college. A solid mid-range shooter, he must extend his range beyond the arc. It’d also help if he got to the rim more, and it seems he has the bounce to do that.
For an undrafted player, he has nice tools. They’ll probably just need to be refined in the D-League.
But even if that’s the intention, Freeman at least gives himself a chance first of upsetting Brown and McCallum in the race for third point guard.
With 32 wins and missing the playoffs, last season wasn’t exactly what the Knicks hoped for. However, last season also came with hope in the form of Kristaps Porzingis.
And there were highlights. Check out the team’s Top 10 plays, courtesy NBA.com.
It starts with some Derrick Williams moments, and ends with a Jose Calderon game winner, but there are moments from players the fans actually like in between.
At this point, there is zero chance Russell Westbrook‘s posts are a coincidence.
First. he posted a video of himself singing along to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Now I Do What I Want.”
Then came the shoe ad that was another little jab at now Warriors Kevin Durant.
Now comes Westbrook’s return to karaoke posts, this time singing Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake.”
Apparently, Westbrook and Durant are having one rough teenage breakup.
One of the great stories of last season was the return of Paul George to All-Star level form (then to watch him be crucial to the USA winning gold this summer).
It was a great story because vintage Paul George was so great. Watch this throwback video of him blowing by LeBron James and dunking over Chris Andersen from a few years back — this is vicious.
By the way, if you’re not following NBA history on Twitter and Instagram, you’re doing it wrong.