John Henson speaks during a news conference for prospective NBA draft picks in New York

Report: Pistons expected to take UNC’s John Henson at No. 9


I’m higher on North Carolina’s shot-blocking forward John Henson than most, or at least most not wearing powder blue.

And if he falls to No. 9, which is highly likely, look for the Detroit Pistons to grab him, reports the Detroit Free Press.

Henson is the likely pick. The Pistons like his makeup and, despite concerns about his frame, he was able to gain nearly 40 pounds during his three seasons at North Carolina, so he figures to put the work in. He projects to be a plus defender, and with shot-blocking at a premium with the way the game is called now, Henson figures to be a contributor.

You can see Henson as a defensive and rebounding force next to Greg Monroe, them making a solid pairing going forward. Build from defense. Henson also showed offensive improvement each year at UNC and while he’s still raw he could develop into a respectable player at that end of the floor.

They may take Meyers Leonard or Andre Drummond (both also big men), but if it’s Henson I like the pick.

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.