Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.
• Steve Nash went through a five-on-five, full contact practice with the Lakers Thursday. Baring any major setback, expect him to play Saturday night for the Lakers when they face a hot Golden State squad.
• Jrue Holiday might be back the 76ers lineup on Friday. Might.
• The Kings are not sure when they will get Tyreke Evans back in the lineup.
• Why have the Thunder won 12 in a row and the Clippers 11? Great offense and soft schedules.
• Dave D’Alessandro of the Newark Star-Ledger just ripped Deron Williams of the Nets in a column Thursday. The best line: “This has less to do with how you play — which is bad enough, you readily admit nowadays — than how you act, which is just one evening gown shy of a diva.”
• At the other end of the New York star spectrum, how Carmelo Anthony has become more efficient (think catch-and-shoot).
• A fantastic look from Zach Lowe at the odd big man pairings in the NBA.
• Mark Cuban basically live tweeted passing a kidney stone. Sounds like it hurts. A lot.
• John Hollinger talks about the jump from ESPN to the Memphis Grizzlies front office.
• A Q&A with promising Warriors’ rookie Harrison Barnes. If he learns to be aggressive and attack consistently, watch out.
• A Los Angeles jury returned a $17.3 million verdict against Clippers owner Donald Sterling for a fire in an apartment building he owns (buying and holding apartment complexes around LA is his primary business). Other tenants in the building settled before trial. This didn’t apparently bother Sterling, who was in the Clippers locker room Wednesday night after their 11th consecutive win leading “hip-hip hooray chants.”
• An article in Forbes about why Louisville should be first in line for the next NBA franchise that wants to move. The entire city of Seattle is shooting you a glare, Louisville.
• The NBA is tweaking the All-Star Saturday format a little so that the conferences are competing against each other with the winner getting money for charity. None of the events change — slam dunk contest, three-point contest, skills challenge and that Shooting Stars thing — this is just an element thrown in for… I don’t know why. Probably to maybe make someone interested in the skills and Shooting Stars things, but I can’t see that working.
• Amazing interview at The Classical with the guys behind one of the great blogs of all time “Fire Joe Morgan.”
Is this disrespectful to the Lakers? Absolutely.
And I love it.
Chris Paul and the Clippers crushed their Los Angeles counterparts, 133-109, last night. The Clippers, who’ve won 13 of 14 in the series, have practically run out of ways to show up their crosstown rival on the court. If it now takes bench visitors, so be it.
This is the best late-blowout bench behavior since LeBron James led the Cavaliers in the water-bottle challenge in a December win over the Knicks. This would rank higher if Chris Jr. didn’t also joined the bench in the Clippers’ November win over the Mavericks, which is the pictured on this post.
You’ve probably heard of the top college point guards for the 2017 NBA draft: Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr., De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk. You might have even heard of French point guard prospect Frank Ntilikina.
Which point guard will be drafted next after those six?
One possibility: Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans.
Evan Daniels of Scout:
Evans looks like a second-round pick, but a dearth of point guards projected into the latter half of the first round could boost his stock.
He’s ultra quick and ultra aggressive and led the nation’s top KenPom offense. Evans relentlessly attacks the rim, often while forcing transition opportunities. That gets defenses scrambled, creating kickout-passing lanes and offensive-rebound opportunities.
However, the 6-foot Evans doesn’t finish that well at the rim – creating a major question about how he’ll translate to the NBA. The bigger defenders in the paint might limit his kickout passes, too.
His size also presents major problems defensively, though a 6-foot-4 wingspan at least helps.
Evans is good enough on jumpers to keep defenses honest, and at Oklahoma State, he had to create so much for himself. It’d be interesting to see whether limiting his burden improves his efficiency or whether his helpfulness is limited to having the ball in his hands.
My guess is the latter, and I’m unconvinced he’s good enough to demand such a role in the NBA. But the possibility is strong enough that I’d be excited about rolling the dice on him in the second round.
The Timberwolves surprisingly led the Spurs by nine at halftime last night, which takes us to Shabazz Muhammad‘s mid-game interview.
We’re doing a great job on defense, Wiggs, myself, everybody. It’s a tough team, especially Kawhi and the guys. So, we’re doing a really good job and everybody’s collective – Collective Bargaining Agreement.
To be fair, I can’t even imagine what type of nonsense I’d spew in the midst of a taxing workout or a high-pressure situation – let alone something that qualifies as both.
Unfortunately for Muhammad, Minnesota eventually fell to San Antonio, 100-93. But hopefully, he can laugh at this moment. He should, at least.
hat tip: reddit user cjsplash
Wednesday a couple of forwards expected to go in the first round of June’s NBA draft said they plan on making the jump to the NBA.
As expected, Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Cal’s Ivan Rabb made their decisions official.
Duke announced Tatum’s decision.
Tatum is expected to be a top-five pick, DraftExpress.com currently has him as the No. 4 pick. The 6’8″ wing can flat-out score the rock, which is why teams are intrigued, as Rob Dauster of NBC’s College Basketball Talk told us in a recent podcast. However, teams wonder if he can create shots for others and not just himself, and if he’s going to be a good defender at the NBA level. He has the physical tools to do be a good defender, but will he put in the work game in, game out?
Rabb is a 6’10” sophomore who has a great NBA build and athleticism to spare, but at the NBA level everyone is a great athlete. Rabb doesn’t have a great perimeter game and needs to develop one and be a consistent defensive force to be a difference maker (or have a lengthy career) at the NBA level. DraftExpress.com has him going 22nd in this draft, and his stock seems to have fallen over the course of the season.