As we steam toward the NCAA’s rather ridiculous deadline of April 10, more and more players are declaring for the NBA draft. Here is the Tuesday crop (which doesn’t include the Kentucky guys we know are going pro because they are still celebrating).
• Washington’s freshman guard Tony Wroten Jr. has declared for the draft. He’s the kind quick guard with size (6’5”) who can get into the lane that is the hot trend in the NBA, and he has good court vision. But he has no outside shot (16 percent from the college three last year), no right hand to speak of, and questionable defense. So all that needs to improve. DraftExpress likes his potential and has him going No. 20.
• As expected, Weber State junior point guard Damian Lillard is going pro — he is the best guy in this draft you have not seen. He’s a quick, athletic 6’2” PG who is a likely lottery pick (DraftExpress says No. 13) — if a team has the guts to explain picking a small college guy to their fans. He averaged 24.5 points per game on 15.2 shots (with the opposing defense keyed on him) and knocked down 43 percent of his threes.
• Teams looking for size may consider Illinois sophomore center Meyers Leonard, who has declared for the draft. At 7’1” and 245 he has an NBA body, is fairly quick for his size and can defend — that should have him going in the late lottery (DraftExpress says 15) but he has a long way to go on the offensive end of the court.
The NBA changed its All-Star format this season from East vs. West to captain-picked teams (though still naming players equally from each conference).
That apparently wasn’t a big enough overhaul.
After including media and player votes last year, the league is making All-Star starter selection even more complex.
NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.
Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.
Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China. All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET.
TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off
The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.
The team rosters for NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.
I suppose this is to drum up interest on otherwise quiet voting days. After all, this is really just about the NBA selling itself.
But the All-Star voting process has always left something to be desired. I don’t see how this changes that.
Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likely” LeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.
Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.
Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.
LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.
But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.
When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).
This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.
During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.
But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.
NBC Sports Washington:
I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.
The double technical foul called seems about fair.