There were no real last minute surprises when the NBA released its list of the 49 underclassmen from colleges who made themselves eligible for the NBA draft (17 international players also declared, we’ll look at them later). We know the big names coming out because they are ready — hello Anthony Davis — but the list also has guys coming out because their college situation wasn’t working out so they decided to try and make the leap.
The draft is June 28 and technically these people have until June 18 to pull out, per NBA rules. However, the NCAA’s deadline to take yourself out of the draft has already passed, so all the college players are in.
Here is the list, in alphabetical order.
Erik Austin (Jackson Community College, Mississippi); Harrison Barnes (North Carolina); Will Barton (Memphis); Bradley Beal (Florida); J’Covan Brown (Texas); Dominic Cheek (Villanova); Jared Cunningham (Oregon State); Anthony Davis (Kentucky); Andre Drummond (Connecticut); Dominique Ferguson (Florida International); Justin Hamilton (LSU); Moe Harkless (St. John’s); John Henson (North Carolina); John Jenkins (Vanderbilt); Perry Jones III (Baylor); Terrence Jones (Kentucky); Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky); Doron Lamb (Kentucky); Jeremy Lamb (Connecticut); Meyers Leonard (Illinois); Damian Lillard (Weber State); Kendall Marshall (North Carolina); Fab Melo (Syracuse); Khris Middleton (Texas A&M); Quincy Miller (Baylor); Tony Mitchell (Alabama); Arnett Moultrie (Mississippi State); Reeves Nelson (UCLA); Austin Rivers (Duke); Peter Roberson (Grambling State); Quincy Roberts (Grambling State); Thomas Robinson (Kansas); Terrence Ross (Washington); Avery Scharer (Shoreline Community College, Washington); Renardo Sidney (Mississippi State); Jonathon Simmons (Houston); Terrell Stoglin (Maryland); Gerardo Suero (Albany); Jared Sullinger (Ohio State); Raymond Taylor (Florida); Marquis Teague (Kentucky); Joston Thomas (Hawaii); Hollis Thompson (Georgetown); Richard Townsend-Gant (Vancouver Island University); Dion Waiters (Syracuse); Maalik Wayns (Villanova); Royce White (Iowa State); D’Angelo Williams (Notre Dame de Namur, California); Tony Wroten (Washington).
Marc Gasol thinks his brother Pau Gasol — who will opt out to become a free agent this summer and bolt Chicago — should join the San Antonio Spurs.
Pau doesn’t think that’s a bad idea.
Speaking with the Spanish sports publication Marca, Gasol said the Spurs would be “an interesting option for me.” (Hat tip Eye on Basketball)
Gasol put up numbers — 16.5 points and 11 rebounds a game — at age 36, he still has great post moves, can still pass, and is still fairly efficient on offense. He was an All-Star for a reason. But he’s also a liability at the defensive end. Where he lands as a free agent should be about fit.
Pau would fit with the Spurs — if he was willing to come off the bench. Which is probably what should have happened in Chicago (with Joakim Noah starting for defensive reasons). As a first big off the bench Gasol can lift a team up, but if he’s out there 31 minutes or more a night as a starter — as he was in Chicago last season — he’s going to get exposed a lot defensively.
Do the Spurs want him is another question?
Is Gasol willing to accept coming off the bench behind LaMarcus Aldridge? Or does he need to be a starter? And will he take less money to contend? Gasol has some questions to answer.
So far, the Golden State Warriors have looked just fine — thank you very much — without one Stephen Curry in the lineup. And as Dan Feldman and I discussed in the latest PBT podcast, they likely will be able to handle the Portland Trail Blazers without him as well. They don’t need to rush him back.
But Curry is rushing himself back and wants to beat the two-week timeline for his strained MCL that the doctors put out there, reports Monte Poole of CSNBayArea.com.
Coach Steve Kerr said Curry looked good in treatment but did not do any work on the court.
Athletes are the worst people to ask about their own recovery timelines; they don’t get to top levels of their sport without supreme confidence and a certain feeling of invulnerability. They are always sure they can bounce back faster than the doctors say — sometimes that’s true, but not often.
So long as the Warriors are not pressured by Portland (sorry Clipper fans, you’re not advancing without CP3 and Griffin), they are under no pressure to rush him back. That second round series is expected to start Sunday in the Bay Area, if the Warriors can hold serve through the first two games then they can keep Curry on the sidelines for a couple of weeks, let the knee rest completely, and bring him back on their own terms.
The Warriors will need him back for the Conference Finals and beyond, but more than that this is a Golden State team set up to be a contender for the next four or five years, you don’t want to create a bigger problem for future years pushing too hard for a title this season if he’s not right.
Friday night sees some big Game 6s across the NBA playoffs — Indiana has the best chance of forcing a Game 7 — but everyone is looking ahead to Oklahoma vs. San Antonio in the next round.
That includes Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com, who in this latest podcast discuss that series and the Atlanta and Cleveland series that tips off next week. Also they talk about the Friday night Game 6 matchups, and if Portland could beat Golden State if the Warriors do not get Stephen Curry back.
As always, you can listen to the podcast below, or listen and subscribe via iTunes, download it directly here, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. If you have the Stitcher app, you can listen there as well.
The Celtics will chase Kevin Durant this summer.
Will it work?
Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports:
Ainge will be aggressive in free agency, team sources told The Vertical, and yes, that means a run at Kevin Durant. The Celtics believe Durant will meet with them this summer, but they know that meeting won’t accomplish much unless there are significant moves leading into it.
The Celtics are optimistic about meeting with Durant. The Warriors are optimistic about signing Durant.
That might just speak to different mindsets within the organizations – why shouldn’t Golden State be confident about everything? – but it also might handicap the odds of Durant’s next team. The Warriors definitely appear more likely than the Celtics.
Boston has plenty going for it: Brad Stevens, a solid young roster, extra draft picks (including the Nets’ first-rounder this year) and cap flexibility. But Durant wants to win now, so those more youthful assets mean only so much. It’s on Danny Ainge to prove he can turn that cap space into another helpful player, deal a Brooklyn pick or two for a veteran. That would become much easier if the Celtics win the lottery.
There’s a lot happening at once. If Durant isn’t coming, Boston might prefer to keep its draft picks and build slowly. Other free agents might not come. But if Durant is on board, that makes trades preferable and other free agents landable.
Of course, Durant should be the top option.
It appears the Celtics at least have their foot in the door.