What would it mean for teams to win NBA Draft Lottery

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Fates will be decided by some bouncing balls and random numbers Wednesday.

Not just the fate of lock No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis (and guys like Andre Drummond, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Thomas Robinson and many more). It’s the fate of franchises (and general managers) that will be decided.

What would it mean to the 14 teams in the lottery to win? Here’s a run down (with their odds of pulling the top spot).

1. Charlotte Bobcats – 25.0%: It means a shot at redemption in the marketplace. Former owner George Shinn came in and ruined the Charlotte market, the new franchise has never fully won back the local fans. Not even with Michael Jordan as owner. Only three things can win the market back — a genuine superstar, winning and committed ownership. The Bobcats have had none of this and basically tanked this season with a weak roster to start. Anthony Davis would start to change that. There’d be a long way to go, but it would be a big start if they win this.

2. Washington Wizards -19.9%: You put Anthony Davis with John Wall and you have the cornerstones of a future contender in Washington. They need to change the locker room culture, they need veteran role players, they need a lot of things but Davis and Wall could be contender cornerstones.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers – 13.8%: They’ve started a turnaround with Kyrie Irving there, shaking off the memories of he who shall not be named. Any of the top three (or four) spots lets them bring in another quality player, likely a big, to pair with Irving as the rebuild goes forward. Davis accelerates that fast and you have the building blocks of contention.

4. New Orleans Hornets – 13.7%: They’ve got a new owner in Tom Benson who is committed to New Orleans, let’s just hope he can build a winner with the Hornets faster than he could with the Saints. Winning the lottery certainly speeds that along and gives the franchise a player to build around (with Eric Gordon).

5. Sacramento Kings – 7.6%: Winning the top pick would give the Maloof Brothers someone special they could help sell in the community to get a new arena built in Sacramento. Instead they’ll just try to take him to Anaheim.

6. Portland Trail Blazers (or Nets) 7.5%: The Nets have a slim shot at the top spot but a 25 percent chance of jumping into the top three — which means a 25 percent chance of keeping their pick. The Nets traded this pick to Portland in the Gerald Wallace deal and it is only top three protected. Basically, the Nets get lucky and draw the top pick and they can convince Deron Williams to stay and play with Davis, or they get the 2/3 pick and try to package that in a Dwight Howard trade. Otherwise Portland’s rebuild gets a nice player to fit in. Most likely the Blazers get it. If the Nets get a top pick right before they move to Brooklyn let the conspiracy rumors fly.

7. Golden State Warriors – 3.6%: For new owners trying to breath life into a long-quiet franchise, a marquee name to go with Stephen Curry and Andrew Bogut would be a big boost and get them to the playoffs. And might help them sell that new arena they want in the city.

8. Toronto Raptors – 3.5%: They have a long, long way to go to recover from the Chris Bosh trade and they lack a star or team identity. Dwane Casey did a good job under the radar there last year, he deserves the chance to coach real talent.

9. Detroit Pistons – 1.7%: They have some nice young pieces — Brandon Knight, Greg Monroe — and a move up to the top spot suddenly makes them the young team on the rise in the east. Any of the top three spots really helps.

10. New Orleans Hornets (via Minnesota) – 1.1%: Remember last year the Cavaliers got the top pick not on their own high odds but on the low chances from a mid-season trade with the Clippers. That could happen to the Hornets, here.

11. Portland Trail Blazers – 0.8%: Do we really want to see the Trail Blazers draft a big man No. 1 overall again? They already have a good core with LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and guys like Luke Babbitt on the roster, add any of the top three picks and they look like a team on the rise.

12. Milwaukee Bucks – 0.7% They have a back court of Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, they win the lottery (or land in the top three) and get a good young big to put with them and you have something to really build on.

13. Phoenix Suns – 0.6%: Win the lottery and they definitely get Steve Nash to stay. Davis’ offense is supposed to be the part of his game that needs to develop. Things develop a lot faster when Nash is feeding you the rock.

14. Houston Rockets – 0.5%: This is a team that has had a lot of good role players — Kevin Martin, Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry — but no star. They win this and suddenly they are a team on the rise with serious potential.

Russell Westbrook threw it down all over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

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A rough night for the Thunder will not stop the Russell Westbrook highlights.

The Thunder had another poor game and fell to a Hornets. Westbrook tried to push the team back, but the Thunder defense that has kept them in games all season was not good enough against Charlotte, and the OKC offense was once again up and down.

Westbrook had 30 points on 22 shots on the night, and none of them were as impressive as this transition throwdown on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Jahlil Okafor excited about fresh start with Nets

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NEW YORK (AP) — Jahlil Okafor finally got the fresh start he wanted.

Okafor was the consensus No. 1 high school player in his class, won a national championship at Duke, and averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds in his rookie campaign for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Then things changed drastically.

Okafor struggled with injuries and a logjam at his position in his second season.

“When I first got drafted there, we already had Nerlens (Noel) there, Joel (Embiid) was there, so we’re trying to have three starting centers on the same team,” Okafor said Monday at his introductory news conference with his new team, the Brooklyn Nets.

“It just never really was the right fit.”

The 76ers traded Okafor along with seldom-used guard Nik Stauskas and two draft picks to the Nets on Thursday. Philadelphia got forward Trevor Booker from Brooklyn.

Okafor also had off-court problems during his time in Philadelphia. He got a speeding ticket for driving 108 miles per hour and was suspended by the 76ers for two games after in an altercation outside of a Boston nightclub with a heckler.

“Speeding obviously is illegal,” Okafor said. “I know that’s not what you’re supposed to do. I guess you just learn how the page can turn on you and how everything can flip. I can’t really say I learned anything, because you know going in that’s not right. You just learn from your mistakes, but (it was) a tough thing that I went through, I got past, and I’m looking to better times now.”

Okafor, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, joins D'Angelo Russell, the second overall pick in the same draft class, on the Nets.

“We’re just very excited to get on the court together,” Okafor said. “You never would’ve thought the number two and number three picks would be playing on the same team a few years after, but like I said, everything happens for a reason and I’m really excited.”

Russell also had problems on and off the court with the team that drafted him. He was criticized for recording a video of former Lakers teammate Nick Young that aired sordid details about Young’s private life. The Lakers gave up on Russell and drafted Lonzo Ball as his replacement.

“I feel like we’re similar in that we have a lot to prove,” Okafor said. “I know he’s working his (butt) off as well. Right now he’s rehabbing, trying to get back on the court. I think we both have a chip on our shoulder and we have a lot to prove. We’re definitely similar in that regard.”

Okafor understands he has areas to improve, mainly defense and rebounding.

“I’m not a perfect player,” Okafor said. “I’m 21. There are things that I need to work on, that I have worked on and that I’ll continue to work on.”

He’s excited about fulfilling his potential with a new team.

“I feel really motivated right now, but I’ve always been motivated,” Okafor said. “This is the first time where people are against me in a sense because I’ve always been the hyped-up guy. It’s something new for me to experience, so I’m glad that I am experiencing it.”

 

Report: Celtics’ Marcus Morris to miss “extended time” to let knee heal

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Marcus Morris missed the Celtics’ first eight games of the season in an effort to get healthy. Upon his return he’s been solid, first as a starter, then coming off the bench, but his left knee continued to be an issue.

Morris was out Sunday when the Celtics beat the Pistons, and he’s going to miss more time trying to get a troublesome left knee right, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

How much time is “extended time?” Probably at least a couple of weeks.

Morris has averaged 12.1 points and 5.5 rebounds a game this season, with a true shooting percentage of 52.5, which is right around the league average.

This could mean more run for rookie forwards Semi Ojeleye and Daniel Theis, both of whom have played well in limited minutes.

Tristan Thompson expected to return to Cavaliers Tuesday, come off bench

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson could play for the first time since Nov. 1 on Tuesday against Atlanta.

Thompson has been sidelined with a strained left calf. The team initially said Thompson would be out for up to four weeks, but he said Monday that timeline was inaccurate and that his injury was more serious. Thompson did not divulge any other details about the injury.

Coach Tyronn Lue says Thompson will not start when he returns, meaning Kevin Love will remain at center. Thompson says he’s fine with a reserve role and made it clear he’s willing to do whatever Lue needs.

The Cavaliers have won 14 of 15 and their defense has improved dramatically over the past month.

Thompson says he’ll have the same mindset on the floor as always and “just be myself. Being myself has worked out pretty well for me.”