This draft is not deep with international talent. It’s deep, loaded with homegrown talent here in the states, but this is not a deep year on for the players from overseas.
Still, 17 players declared for the draft the NBA announced, and you should get to know a few of them.
Like Evan Fournier, the 6’7” swingman out of France, likely to be drafted late in the first of early in the second round. He has played the top level of French ball the past couple seasons and can create his own shot off the dribble or step back and knock down the three. Well, he doesn’t hit the three consistently — his jump shot needs work — but that is fixable. Besides, in the NBA he won’t have to carry the load for a team like he does now. This is a guy who scouts say looks like a prototypical NBA wing.
Then there is likely second round pick Tomas Satoransky, a tall (6’7”) ball handling point guard who has the smart game and court sense you want with your point guard. He’s a good defender because of his length. He also needs to get a consistent outside shot, but he could develop into a quality guard.
Furkan Aldemir comes out of Turkey and is another guy likely to go in the second round. The 6’9” forward is a rebounder and defensive guy, not much on the offensive end but he’s an old-school, near the basket, physical four. He’s not going to star in the NBA but if you can get a guy who can give you quality minutes off the bench in the paint you got something of value.
DraftExpress.com has seven international players taken total in this draft, but only Fournier in the first round. The other internationals who declared for the draft are:
Jonas Bergstedt (Spain);
Josep Franch (Spain);
Maximilian Kleber (Germany);
Lahaou Konate (France);
Mindaugas Kupsas (Lithuania);
Joffrey Lauvergne (France);
Abdoulaye Loum (France); Nika Metreveli (Italy);
Nemanja Nedovic (Serbia);
Alen Omic (Slovenia); Jakub Parzenski (Poland);
Sertac Sanli (Turkey);
Tornike Shengelia (Belgium);
Mathieu Wojciechowski (France).
Most impressive part of this one? Ben Simmons racked up this triple-double in three quarters.
The Sixers impressive rookie put together his 10th triple-double of the season — 15 points, 13 assists, 12 rebounds — Saturday to help lead Philadelphia past Minnesota, 120-108 (the Sixers sixth straight win). Simmons was attacking all night, not taking a single shot outside the paint and shooting 5-of-9. On those drives, he was able to make some dishes for assists, too.
Simmons has averaged a triple-double over the last seven games, and he has the second most triple-doubles ever by a rookie (Oscar Robertson more than doubled Simmons output).
I don’t know if Simmons or Utah’s Donovan Mitchell is going to win Rookie of the Year (both are deserving), but nights like this and numbers like this certainly help Simmons’ case.
Stephen Curry is out for the rest of the regular season and likely will miss at least the start of the playoffs with a sprained MCL in his left knee. His starting backcourt mate Klay Thompson is out for at least another week, maybe more, with a fractured thumb. Kevin Durant should return this week from his fractured ribs. Draymond Green missed time with a hip contusion but will return to the lineup this week.
The injuries have piled up on the Warriors, and while only Curry’s is expected to bleed over into the postseason, the question remains, should Warriors fans be worried?
Kevin Durant took a page from the Aaron Rodgers “relax” book and told Warriors fans to chill, speaking to Chris Haynes of ESPN.
“S— ain’t perfect when you’re living life,” Durant said. “There’s going to be ebbs and flows. I know since this whole Warriors [dynasty] started, it’s been pretty nice. There’s nothing to worry about. We’re all living life good. We’re playing in the NBA. We got a couple ankle tweaks, we got a few rib injuries, a couple of guys got kicked in the groin, a little fractured thumb. Nobody is dealing with anything life-threatening…
“Steph is going to work his tail off to get back no matter what it is, and we’re all going to support him and we’re going to be there for him. We’re going to hold this s— down.”
Durant is right. First, in the grand scheme of world problems, Curry’s knee is not a big one. Secondly, the Warriors have had a fairly fortunate and magical run the past few years, and by the start of the playoffs the Warriors should have most of the team healthy and rested.
The Warriors likely can get through the first two rounds without Curry, so long as Durant, Green, Thompson, as well as Iguodala and Livingston are healthy. A potential second-round matchup with Portland would be a challenge, but the Warriors would still deserve favorite status in that one.
Against Houston in a potential Western Conference Finals matchup, Golden State will need a healthy. Curry should be back by then, but with the Warriors injury luck lately it’s something to watch.
The Warriors will have to go the rest of the season and probably the start the playoffs without the guy their offense is built around.
Stephen Curry will be out at least three weeks after suffering a Grade 2 MCL sprain Friday night when JaVale McGee accidentally fell into his knee, the team announced Saturday. It’s about as good of news as could have been hoped for, considering the injury and the timing, that said the team will “re-evaluate” Curry in three weeks, and Grade 2 MCL’s often take a month or more to fully heal.
The playoffs begin in exactly three weeks. Curry could be back around the start of those games or, more likely, will miss part of the postseason depending upon how his recovery goes. The Warriors are essentially locked in as the two seed right now, but in a jumbled West it’s unclear who they will play in the first round and what matchup challenges that presents. The Warriors should be much healthier by then, they will get Draymond Green back from his hip injury on Sunday vs. the Jazz. Kevin Durant is expected later next week. Klay Thompson will be a little after that, but before the playoffs.
Curry, however, is the fuel that turns the Warriors offense into something elite. Curry is averaging 26.3 points and 6.2 assists per game, shooting 42.4 percent from three this season. The Warriors offense is 14 points per 100 possessions better this season when Curry is on the court.
Kyrie Irving could be back right around the start of the playoffs, somewhere during the first round, or maybe not until the beginning of the second (if the Celtics are still playing).
Irving had his knee surgery Saturday and the timeline for his return is 3-6 weeks, the Celtics announced Saturday. This is the official press release.
Celtics guard Kyrie Irving today underwent a minimally-invasive procedure to remove a tension wire in his left knee. The wire was originally placed as part of the surgical repair of a fractured patella sustained during the 2015 NBA Finals. While removal of the wire should relieve irritation it was causing in Irving’s patellar tendon, the fractured patella has fully healed and Irving’s knee has been found to be completely structurally sound. Irving is expected to return to basketball activities in 3-6 weeks.
When Irving has been off the court this season, the Celtics have been 7.7 points worse per 100 possessions, with an offensive rating of 101, which is right at the bottom of the league. In the last five games, when Irving has been sidelined, the Celtics have gone 3-2 with an offensive rating of 100.4.
The Celtics are all but formally locked in as the two seed in the East.
With no Gordon Hayward or Daniel Theis for these playoffs, no Marcus Smart to start, and now questions about Irving’s availability, the question is how hard should Boston push to get Irving back for this postseason? Irving will push, it’s his nature, but the Celtics need to think bigger picture. Boston is poised to be a force in the East and maybe the team to beat next season, that should not be risked to make a splash this season. How motivated are the Celtics to push Irving for this season’s playoffs with a roster already decimated by injuries?