I hammered Andre Drummond’s draft prospects. Physically he was incredibly gifted. But we’ve seen so many talented athletic big men flame out because of the mental game, and that part was of massive concern. Not just from media, but scouts, draft experts, the works. He was worth the risk for the right team. But none of the teams really seemed to be in a position to make that gamble, not even Detroit. It wasn’t that I thought Drummond would bust out, that he was worthless. It was that the concerns with him outweighted the chances of production, short and long-term.
It’s preseason. That’s what I keep telling myself. Over and over again. Because in preseason, Drummond has looked fantastic. Observe:
Greg Monroe has said this week that mentally he has a long way to go. And defensive rotations are going to be pivotal for Detroit, because they’re not loaded with offensive weapons. But his timing has been good, his ball-handling has been good, his tenacity has been good, and most notably, his focus has been good.
We’re a long way from there. But for all the useless knowledge to come out of preseason, it’s worth looking at the fact that Drummond is looking much better than a lot of people, myself included, thought he would, especially this early.
Reports: Lakers, Pacers both confident in tampering case
They feel very strongly that there were correspondences between Lakers executives and Paul George’s representative. They had heard those rumors for quite some time. They think there’s some there there.
Wishful thinking by both sides? It sure looks like it.
The Lakers probably tampered, because everybody tampers. But teams are rarely punished for it, so they can also believe they did nothing egregious enough to become an exception.
A paper trail between the Lakers – Magic Johnson or any other executive – and George’s camp would go far. But even that must be more specific. George’s agent, Aaron Mintz, also represents Lakers forward Julius Randle and former Lakers guard D'Angelo Russell. So, he’d have good reason to communicate with the organization.
I don’t know what the NBA will do here. Tampering rules are rarely and arbitrarily enforced. That gives each team plenty of room to believe it’s right.
Only two of 38 rookies surveyed say No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz will have class’s best career
The 76ers drafted Ben Simmons No. 1 last year, believing he’d have the best career of anyone in his draft class. This year, Philadelphia traded up to draft Markelle Fultz No. 1 for the same reason.
Their fellow rookies – Simmons missed all of last season due to injury – aren’t nearly as enthused.
John Schuhmann of NBA.com conducted his annual rookie survey, polling 39 players who weren’t allowed to vote for themselves or college or NBA teammates. Thirty-eight responded to the best-career question:
Simmons might not have come to mind to players at the rookie photo shoot, which was for the most recent draft class. And rookies have tended to pick someone other than the No. 1 pick for this question. Anthony Davis in 2012 was the last No. 1 pick to lead voting. Simmons tied for fourth at 6.7% last year – behind Brandon Ingram, Kris Dunn and Buddy Hield. Even Karl-Anthony Towns landed behind Jahlil Okafor in 2015.
But so few votes for Fultz – the consensus top prospect in the draft – is fairly stunning.
Dennis Smith Jr. received the most votes for Rookie of the Year, but at just 25.7%. A large majority of rookies picked someone other than the Mavericks point guard.
Lonzo Ball (71.8% for best playmaker) was the only player to receive a majority of votes in a category. Luke Kennard (48.6% for best shooter) and Smith (43.6% for most athletic), who each tripled second place, came close.
The Americans should still be favored, though obviously not as overwhelming as they’d be with NBA players, in a field also comprised of Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Uruguay, Panama and U.S. Virgin Islands.
We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?
Now, the Lakers – at Indiana’s request – are being investigated for tampering.
The investigation, which has been going on since May, stemmed from comments Magic Johnson made on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” that angered Pacers owner Herb Simon, according to several NBA officials who were not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.
This doesn’t mean the Pacers believe Johnson tampered with his televised comments. It seems as if that was the last straw following numerous rumors about George going to Los Angeles.
However, there’s a case Johnson’s televised remarks alone would constitute tampering. The Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibits “assurances of intent, or understandings of any kind (whether disclosed or undisclosed to the NBA), between a player (or any person or entity controlled by, related to, or acting with authority on behalf of, such player) and any Team (or Team Affiliate)” – and even attempts to solicit assurance of intent or understanding – when the player is still under contract with another team. Johnson sure appeared to do that.
But it’d be shocking if Johnson or the Lakers were punished for the interview alone. Indiana probably needs more evidence.
Then again, the arbitrary way the NBA enforces tampering, who knows?