Who is going to be the No. 1 pick in 2013 NBA Draft?

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Well, now that we got that draft behind us, time to think about next year…

Okay, maybe we shouldn’t skip ahead that fast. We’ve got Summer League to watch guys grow, a free agent season coming that will be a roller coaster, then a regular season and playoffs before we get back to this spot. But let’s peak around the corner and see who we will be talking about a year from now anyway.

Actually, first know it won’t be a deep draft like this years, says ESPN’s draft expert Chad Ford. He says the top three stand out, then there is a big drop off.

The 2013 draft is so devoid of top returning underclassmen and has such a marginal freshman class, one NBA scout said our 2013 Top 100 list may be the weakest since the dreaded 2000 NBA draft.

So who are the top guys? Here is who DraftExpress has as its Top 5 right now for the 2013 draft (know this is going to shift a lot in the next year).

1) Nerlens Noel (6’11” center, will play for Kentucky). He’s been targeted for a while as a top pick to watch — he’s long, very athletic, defensive minded shot blocker who can finish with authority on the other end. If you think that sounds a lot like just taken No. 1 Anthony Davis, you are spot on. That’s the comparison. His recruitment was the focus of a New York Times piece that doesn’t speak well of college basketball.

2) Shabazz Muhammad (6’6” shooting guard, will play for UCLA). He’s not the biggest two guard, there may be better athletes at the two guard, but Muhammad is NBA level at both brings great energy at both ends of the floor, plus he just has a scorer’s instincts. He can flat out light it up. He will knock down threes or drive the lane. A complete offensive player. Let’s hope Ben Howland doesn’t crush that.

3) Cody Zeller (6’11” center, Indiana). He could have come out but decided to return for one more year in Bloomington. He is the younger, and frankly better, brother of North Carolina’s Tyler Zeller. Cody averaged 15.6 points per game while shooting a very impressive 62 percent last season. You’ll see him on your television a lot next year, Indiana is going to be very good.

4) Rudy Gobert (6’11” power forward/center, France). He measured a 7’9” wingspan at adidas EuroCamp and as you might imagine he can block a few shots. He got called up to the French national team after his play in some under-20 games.

5) James McAdoo (6’9” power forward, North Carolina). A fundamentally sound big man who moves well. He can rebound and defend, and if he can develop a steady midrange jumper he becomes a much-more dangerous NBA big man.

Spurs honor Richard Overton, the oldest living U.S. veteran at Military Appreciation Night

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San Antonio is a military town, and on Thursday night against the Memphis Grizzlies the Spurs held a Military Appreciation Night. The team donned their camouflage uniforms, then held court for a very special guest: Richard Overton.

Mr. Overton is the oldest living U.S. veteran at age 110. He was in the Pacific theater during WWII and served in the Army with the 1887th Engineer Aviation Battalion.

The team honored Mr. Overton during the game, and he received a standing ovation during a timeout.

Via Twitter:

Plus, Mr. Overton got to hang with the Spurs dancers:

Pretty neat of the team to do.

James Harden has been fouled on 3-pointers more than any single NBA team

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Houston Rockets star James Harden is a leading candidate for the 2017 NBA MVP, and for good reason. The Arizona State product has been exceedingly efficient, unburdened by Dwight Howard clogging the lane and fueled by a Mike D’Antoni offense that treats the ball like it’s radioactive.

But Harden has a new claim to add to his statistically-important season. He has been fouled more times on 3-point shots than any team in the NBA.

Not player. Any team.

This revelation is the result of some serious digging by ESPN’s Chris Herring. In an article published to 538, Herring outlined the situation in great detail. It’s worth reading in full, but the shocker comes here:

Harden has drawn a whopping 108 shooting fouls from distance this year with 11 games left to play. For context, consider that, outside of the Rockets, no team has garnered more than 73 of those calls.

If you subtract Harden’s numbers from the rest of the league’s, the average NBA player has drawn fouls on 1.6 percent of his 3-pointers this season, according to BigDataBall, which tracks the league’s play-by-play logs. Harden is drawing 3-point shooting fouls at a 16.7 percent clip, or more than 10 times as often.

Herring’s article goes into how Harden draws the contact (hint: he’s the one initiating it) and why he’s so good at it. Just like on his drives, Herring says Harden uses his arms to his advantage. It’s best to read 538’s article so you can see the visual cues on how Harden does it, but it’s suffice to say it’s impressive.

The immediate discussion here is whether Harden is “gaming” the system by adding this to his already foul-reliant arsenal. The answer is absolutely he is, and that’s why he’s one of the top MVP candidates this season.

Change the rules or change how officials respond to the game. Until then, James Harden is a basketball wizard.

Derrick Rose, his agent both say winning more important than money in free agency

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Lets’s start with a disclaimer: Nearly every player and agent say for them free agency is not about the money, it’s about winning/fit/style of play. Then they go to the team that gives them the most money, even if it’s not very good or plays a style that doesn’t fit with their game.

That said, as players get along in the league, winning does matter more and some players will sacrifice dollars for rings.

Derrick Rose is a free agent this summer, and both his agent and Rose himself said that finding a winning team is what will guide the process.

“Derrick wants to win,” Rose’s agent B.J. Armstrong told NBCSports.com as part of a PBT Podcast (which will drop Friday morning). “That’s who he is, whether he’s playing pick-and-roll or not. In the end, what I found as a player, what I found as an agent, is it’s much easier to play when you’re winning….

“This is his first time, in his nine years of playing in the league, that he’ll actually have an opportunity to select the people he thinks he can work best with. As long as you’re playing in a good spot and healthy, money and the rest of it will take care of itself. Where you get in trouble in this league is when you start trying to do things strictly for money.”

Here is what Rose himself said about his free agency this summer, via ESPN.

“Not even thinking money. I’ve got more than enough money saved. If I stopped playing basketball now, I’ll be all right,” Rose told reporters in Utah on Wednesday night. “I want to win. I want to be happy and feel at peace with myself wherever I’m at. But being at the negotiating table, you never know. I’m not going to negotiate with people where money is the No. 1 thing I’m asking for. I want to win.”

It’s going to be an interesting market for Rose, the number of “winning” or quality teams in need of a point guard and with enough cap space to sign Rose is a limited market. While he has said he would love to stay in New York and the Knicks have not given up on the idea of re-signing him, if they are committed to the triangle offense that may be an awkward fit (and it’s not exactly a winning team). The sands will shift this summer and something will open up, but will Rose take less money — and maybe a lesser role — to be on a team that’s a threat to do deep in the playoffs?

He says so. His agent said so. We’ll see what happens when the money hits the negotiating table.

Charles Barkley says if he was dying he would kill fellow talking head Skip Bayless

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Charles Barkley knows how to get ratings. He said weird stuff all the time. He’s feuded with LeBron James and made fun of LaVar Ball. Now Barkley has said that if he had some kind of terminal illness, he would want to kill former ESPN and current Fox Sports talking head Skip Bayless.

Uh, what?

It was the end part of a conversation Barkley had on The Dan Patrick Show this week, with Barkley quickly cramming it into the final minute of the show.

“You know what we should do for ratings?” said Barkley, “If I get a disease and I’m gonna die, how about you get Skip Bayless in here and I kill him live on national television.”

Bayless makes a living being abrasive, but this feels pretty clumsy. Then again, Shaquille O’Neal saying the Earth is flat is also simply testing the waters of how to get instant buzz around you.

Let’s hope Barkley stays healthy, if only for Bayless’ sake.