We are just one week away from the NBA draft, and that means there are more rumors and reports than James Harden has beard combs.
Here are some highlights of the buzz on Thursday:
• The Bobcats are still looking to move the No. 2 overall pick, but they don’t want to go farther down the ladder than about No. 6 and they want quality prospect back with it, reports ProBasketballDraft (not affiliated with this site). That’s not really new so much as a confirmation of what we have already heard. I also bet it doesn’t happen.
• Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has worked out for the Bobcats, Wizards and Cavaliers and that’s going to be it. He is almost certainly going between 2 and 4 and he knows it. Actually, almost certainly 2 or 4 — the Wizards just traded for Trevor Ariza they don’t need another three fighting for minutes out there. Then again, they are the Wizards. If he did fall to 5 the Kings would grab him in a heartbeat.
• Just a hunch, Bradley Beal will be a Wizard. And Thomas Robinson will be a Bobcat.
• Fab Melo reportedly impressed when he worked out for the Pacers. Be careful with these kinds of rumors — according to agents there has never been a bad workout — but this seems to have legs.
• Don’t be shocked if you start to hear Tyreke Evans trade rumors around the draft, reports ProBasketballDraft.
• Would the Kings risk paring Andre Drummond with DeMarcus Cousins up front?
• Damian Lillard is only doing solo workouts, reports Chad Ford at ESPN. Interesting strategy.
• Michigan State’s Draymond Green is a guy that teams later in the first round really seem to like.
There’s so much money floating around the Bay Area right now thanks to another tech boom, this price almost seems low.
If you have a suite for the Golden State Warriors home games this season — and those are pretty much sold out, the Warriors draw big from the Silicon Valley crowd — you can have the NBA championship Larry O’Brien Trophy visit your suite. All for just a couple grand. From Gilbert Lee, via ESPN’s Darren Rovell.
The best part is it includes champagne… do you get to spray each other with it as you hold up the trophy? Now that would be perfect (goggles included, of course).
Have an issue with this? Why? To the victor goes the spoils. The Warriors may be able to sell this package for years.
First, the Sixers nailed the Nike “statement” jersey.
Now, they have announced a new “Spirit of 76” promotion, with seven tribute nights this season honoring the history of the franchise and of the Philadelphia area (and there is plenty of history to honor).
The best part — the “Spirit of 76” court with the bell logo.
Here is the promo vid
I just hope the Sixers team can live up to all the hype.
When the Washington Wizards open training camp next Tuesday, starting forward Markieff Morris will not be on the court.
That’s because he will have surgery to repair a sports hernia, a story broken by Candice Buckner of the Washington Post and since confirmed by Chase Hughes at CSNMidAtlantic.com.
While we don’t have details on the surgery, often recovery time for this is just a few weeks, and Morris could well be ready for the start of the season.
Morris averaged 14 points and 6.5 rebounds a game last season, and the Wizards offense was 5.7 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court last season. With him out, coach Scott Brooks can lean on Jason Smith or Mike Scott for traditional lineups, but don’t be shocked if he tries a little small ball with Otto Porter and/or Kelly Oubre at the three or four.
Morris also is in the midst of a felony assault trial in Arizona (one where he does not need to attend).
This is the season the 76ers make the leap from team with potential to playoff team fast on the rise.
That’s the plan in Philly, but there are a lot of questions for this team to answer. While a couple of these issues are answered already — Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are cleared to play and practice with teammates — a couple big ones still hang around. At the top of the list is “how healthy is Joel Embiid?” Coach Brett Brown doesn’t even have that answer yet, reports Derek Bodner of The Athletic.
It’s this simple: The Sixers outscored opponents by 3.3 points per 100 possessions when Embiid was on the court last season, he was a dominant force defensively who scored 20.2 points a game. When he was off the court the Sixers were 11.5 points per 100 possessions worse. They need him to play and play consistently if the Sixers have playoff dreams. It’s unclear when Embiid will return, but know that the Sixers will be cautious with his minutes again when he does get cleared (he has played just 31 games in three seasons).
Does that mean more Jahlil Okafor? Maybe not, the Sixers are still willing to trade him.
The Sixers have shopped Okafor for most of a year and found no deal they like. Okafor battled knee issues last season and, after a summer working to get healthy, other teams will want to see him play a little before talking trade. If he comes to camp slimmed down and his knee looks right, it could revive trade talks. Using a back-to-the-basket game, he averaged 11.8 points a night shooting 51 percent last season, he’s efficient, and some teams could use what he does (off the bench).
It’s going to be an interesting season in Philly. Are they playoff bound?