NCAA Basketball Tournament - Ohio State v Syracuse

So who promised Dion Waiters? Toronto? Phoenix?


Let the guessing begin.

Syracuse Guard Dion Waiters has pulled out of all future workouts and interviews with NBA teams — he got a promise from some team (and stops talking to other teams so someone doesn’t take him higher).

Who made the promise?

A couple rumors pointed to the Toronto Raptors at No. 8. We’ll let Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated sum it up.

The surprising move gave the indication that he had a promise in the mid-first round. It’s not known if that’s the case, though a team executive with good reason to find out said the leading suspects are Toronto (No. 8) and Phoenix (No. 13).

However, Doug Smith of the Toronto Star is shooting down the Raptors rumor after talking with Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo.

“His agent has told me there’s a promise to another team. Regardless, if he’s on the board he’s in our mix.”

There is a lot of misdirection and smokescreens out there, so you should be careful trusting what anybody says. Waiters is a guy some GMs love and could go before he even fell to the Raptors at No. 8.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.