I don’t think what Mark Cuban said was meant as an insult to Kobe Bryant. But Kobe uses everything for fuel — the security guard doesn’t wave to him on his way into the arena and he gets pissed and drops 40 — so you kind of knew what was coming if you were Dallas. Just be glad it wasn’t 62 points in three quarters.
Third Star: Jarrett Jack(23 points, 8 assists, 5 rebounds)
Good teams win ugly and that’s what the Warriors did Sunday. But they wouldn’t have had a chance without another big game from Jack — this is three straight 20 -point games for him. He had 11 points in the first quarter kept the Warriors within reach and in the fourth quarter had five points and 4 dimes. Jack needs to be in the sixth man of the year conversation.
Second Star: Dwyane Wade(24 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds)
Early in the season everyone said he had lost a step. But veteran players get smart about when they can and should turn it on over the course of the long season. And with the Heat behind in the fourth quarter Sunday Wade turned it on — 15 points in the fourth quarter. Miami has 11 wins in a row and that streak is alive because Wade hasn’t lost much if anything.
First Star: Kobe Bryant(38 points, 12 rebounds, 7 assists)
Don’t make Kobe angry, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry. This was a vintage Kobe performance where some of the shots were ones that make coaches everywhere cringe — and he knocks them down. The Lakers are playing much better lately but this is why you want to have a Kobe on your team — there are nights you need a guy to put you over the top. That’s what Kobe did. Amnesty That.
Keeping the core together offers the upside of a playoff-series victory or two annually, modest outcomes for the cost. But a fragile Atlanta fan base might not tolerate a rebuild.
Schlenk works for owner Tony Ressler, and Ressler sounds committed to maintaining the status quo by keeping Millsap. It’s now Schlenk’s job to execute that vision or convince his boss to approve a different direction.
Potential none-and-done first-rounder Hamidou Diallo returning to Kentucky
The more I’ve looked into the 2017 NBA draft, the less impressed I’ve become. There are a few bright spots in the first round relative to an average draft – No. 2, 5ish-10ish, 17ish-22ish – but I’m not convinced this is the generationally strong draft it has been touted as.
In the absence of prospects who offer secure promise, why not turn to upside? Hamidou Diallo offered plenty and was increasingly viewed as a first-rounder.
Yet, he’ll return to Kentucky for his freshman season.
A highly ranked recruit, Diallo began last school year at a prep school then enrolled at Kentucky for the spring semester. He practiced with the Wildcats, but never played.
Then, he went to the combine and posted excellent measurables: 6-foot-5, 6-foot-11 wingspan, 44.5-inch vertical and strong agility and sprint scores. Just 18, Diallo might have been the second-youngest player drafted this year (behind only Ike Anigbogu).
It wouldn’t have taken long – likely somewhere in the middle of the first round – for a team to bite on all that potential.
Instead, Diallo returns to Kentucky and must now show his ability to actually produce in basketball games. If he does, there’s no limit on how high he goes in the 2018 NBA draft. If he doesn’t, he’ll regret missing the opportunity to get drafted before his game got picked apart.
I can tell you is most everyone associated with the Bulls believes Wade will pick up the option and remain in Chicago for a second season. More surprising things have happened in league history, though. So stay tuned.
This could be a tell that Wade will opt in. The Bulls could obviously be positioned to base their prediction on inside information into Wade’s thinking.
This could a tell the Bulls won’t trade Butler. If they know they’ll keep Butler, they can extrapolate what that’d mean for Wade.
Or the Bulls, like so many of us, just assume a 35-year-old Wade won’t turn down so much guaranteed money at this stage of his career.
PBT Extra: Why Derrick Rose more likely to be Spur than Chris Paul next season