Set your DVRs: The complete NBA playoff first round schedule

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It is time to get serious. Finally. No more guys sitting out with “injuries” that exist only so David Stern won’t fine teams for resting players. No more talk of real injuries that actually have wrecked some of the fun of the season. No more Derrick Rose talk… oh, I guess that doesn’t end. But at least now we can get on with games that mean something.

Let’s get on with some playoff basketball.

So you can set your DVRs — or put alerts in your Google calendar so you know to get to the bar and watch the game — here is the full schedule for the first round of the NBA playoffs. All times are Eastern. An “*” means if necessary.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Oklahoma City vs. Houston

Game 1 – Sun April 21 at Oklahoma City 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 2 – Wed April 24 at Oklahoma City 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Sat April 27 at Houston 9:30PM (ESPN)
Game 4 – Mon April 29 at Houston TBD
Game 5 * Wed May at Oklahoma City TBD
Game 6 * Fri May 3 at Houston TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 5 at Oklahoma City TBD

San Antonio vs. L.A. Lakers

Game 1 – Sun April 21 at San Antonio 3:30PM (ABC)
Game 2 – Wed April 24 at San Antonio 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Fri April 26 at L.A. Lakers 10:30PM (ESPN)
Game 4 – Sun April 28 at L.A. Lakers 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Tue April 30 at San Antonio TBD
Game 6 * Thu May 2 at L.A. Lakers TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 4 at San Antonio TBD (TNT)

Denver vs. Golden State

Game 1 – Sat April 20 at Denver 5:30PM (ESPN)
Game 2 – Tue April 23 at Denver 10:30PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Fri April 26 at Golden State 10:30PM (ESPN2)
Game 4 – Sun April 28  at Golden State 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Tue April 30 at Denver TBD
Game 6 * Thu May 2 at Golden State TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 4 at Denver  TBD (TNT)

L.A. Clippers vs. Memphis

Game 1 – Sat April 20 at L.A. Clippers 10:30PM (ESPN)
Game 2 – Mon April 22 at L.A. Clippers 10:30PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Thu April 25 at Memphis 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 4 – Sat April 27 at Memphis 4:30PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Tue April 30at L.A. Clippers TBD
Game 6 * Fri May 3 at Memphis TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 5 at L.A. Clippers TBD

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Miami vs. Milwaukee

Game 1 – Sun April 21 at Miami  7:00PM (TNT)
Game 2 – Tue April 23 at Miami 7:30PM (NBA TV)
Game 3 – Thu April 25 at Milwaukee 7:00PM (TNT)
Game 4 – Sun April 28 at Milwaukee 3:30PM (ABC)
Game 5 * Tue April 30 at Miami TBD
Game 6 * Thu May 2 at Milwaukee TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 4 at Miami TBD (TNT)

New York vs. Boston

Game 1 – Sat April 20 at New York 3:00PM (ABC)
Game 2 – Tue April 23 at New York 8:00PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Fri April 26 at Boston 8:00PM (ESPN)
Game 4 – Sun April 28 at Boston 1:00PM (ABC)
Game 5 * Wed May 1 at New York TBD
Game 6 * Fri May 3  at Boston TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 5 at New York TBD

Indiana vs. Atlanta

Game 1 – Sun April 21 at Indiana 1:00PM (TNT)
Game 2 – Wed April 24 at Indiana 7:30PM (NBA TV)
Game 3 – Sat April 27 at Atlanta 7:00PM (ESPN)
Game 4 – Mon April 29 at Atlanta TBD
Game 5 * Wed May 1 at Indiana TBD
Game 6 * Fri May 3 at Atlanta TBD
Game 7 * Sun May 5 at Indiana TBD

Brooklyn vs. Chicago

Game 1 – Sat April 20 at Brooklyn 8:00PM (ESPN)
Game 2 – Mon April 22 at Brooklyn 8:00PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Thu April 25 at Chicago 8:30PM (NBA TV)
Game 4 – Sat April 27 at Chicago 12:00PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Mon April 29 at Brooklyn TBD
Game 6 * Thu May 2 at Chicago TTBD
Game 7 * Sat May 4 at Brooklyn TBD (TNT)

Medically risky prospects bring intrigue to 2017 NBA draft

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla dubbed Indiana forward O.G. Anunoby, who was slipping through the first round, a “sexy blogger pick.”

While I appreciate the compliment, Fraschilla was also right about another point: Those analyzing the draft for websites clearly valued Anunoby more than NBA teams. Fraschilla cited Anunoby’s limited offense, but it’s hard to get past Anunoby’s knee injury as a primary reason he fell to the Raptors at No. 23.

The 76ers adjusted us to the idea of picking an injured player high in the draft, with Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid in recent years. Even though Ben Simmons was healthy when picked, a later injury that cost him his entire rookie year conditioned us to the idea that sometimes top rookies don’t begin their pro careers ready to play.

But the 2017 NBA draft pushed back against that as a new norm. Most of the biggest tumblers on my board had injury concerns, from where I ranked them to where the went:

  • 12. O.G. Anunoby, SF, Indiana – No. 23, Raptors
  • 13. Harry Giles, PF, Duke – No. 20, Kings
  • 18. Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Zalgiris – No. 43, Rockets
  • 19. Ike Anigbogu, C, UCLA – No. 47, Pacers

Anunoby had the aforementioned knee injury that even he, trying to paint himself in the most favorable light, said would cause him to miss some of the upcoming season. The strength of his game is a defensive versatility that would be undermined by a decline in athleticism.

Giles looked like a potential No. 1 pick in high school until three knee surgeries in three years derailed him. He was limited at Duke as a freshman, though reportedly acquitted himself in pre-draft workouts.

Hartenstein’s and Anigbogu’s medical issues were less widely know, but teams were apparently concerned.

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:

https://twitter.com/DraftExpress/status/878094857037676544

https://twitter.com/DraftExpress/status/878099339012210688

The 7-foot-1 Hartenstein is big enough to put a heavy load on his back. Just 19, he has nice vision as a passer and a developing outside shot that could allow him to spend more time on the perimeter and better take advantage of his passing.

Anigbogu was the youngest player drafted. He’s big and strong and mobile and throws his body around like a wrecking ball. He must develop better awareness and maybe even some ball skills, but there’s a path toward productivity.

Will these players blossom as hoped?

As I wrote when ranking Anunoby and Giles 12th and 13th before the draft, “I’m somewhat shooting in the dark” and “I’m mostly guessing here.”

This is the disconnect between the public perception of these players’ draft stocks and where they’re actually selected. We don’t have access to their medical records like teams do. We’re operating with far less information.

Still, it’s not as if teams always know how to interpret medical testing. Even with more information, this is hard.

I’m confident Anunoby, Giles, Hartenstein and Anigbogu would have gotten drafted higher with clean bills of health. So, this is an opportunity for the teams that drafted them. If the players stay healthy, they provide excellent value.

It’s obviously also a risk. If the player can’t get healthy, his value could quickly approach nil.

There are no certainties in the draft, but these four players present especially wide ranges of outcomes, which makes them among the more exciting picks to track in the years ahead.

Vlade Divac: Kings would have drafted De’Aaron Fox No. 1

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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I sense a pattern.

Like Celtics president Danny Ainge saying Boston would’ve drafted No. 3 pick Jayson Tatum No. 1 if it kept the top pick, Kings president Vlade Divac said Sacramento would’ve taken No. 5 pick De'Aaron Fox No. 1 if it had the top pick.

Divac, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:

“Screaming,” Divac said about the reaction in the room to Fox falling in their lap. “It was a guy that we all loved and in some way, if we had the number 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy.”
“De’Aaron is our future,” Divac added.

The Kings are getting a lot of credit for drafting well. Maybe it’s a good thing they didn’t get the No. 1 pick, because it would have been foolish to pass on Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball (and others) for Fox. (The real punchline: Sacramento couldn’t have won the lottery due to Divac’s dumb salary dump with the 76ers giving Philadelphia the ability to swap picks.)

I don’t believe the Kings would’ve actually taken Fox No. 1. This sounds like Divac embellishing, which can be no big deal. It also puts outsized expectations on Fox, for better or worse.

Danny Ainge: Celtics would have drafted Jayson Tatum No. 1

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After trading down from No. 1 to No. 3 in the draft, Celtics president Danny Ainge said Boston would probably still get the player it would’ve picked No. 1.

The Celtics selected Jayson Tatum No. 3. Would they have taken him if they held the No. 1 pick?

Ainge, via CSN New England:

Yes, we would have picked him with the first pick. But the draft was very even, we felt, at the top all the way through maybe five or six. And it was very difficult. There was a lot of players we liked in this draft.

I believe that the Celtics saw the top several picks as similar. I also believe, but don’t know, that they would’ve drafted Markelle Fultz if they kept the top pick.

I’m also curious, considering how the process unfolded, whether Ainge had Tatum or Josh Jackson in mind when making his initial statement. Regardless of whether he was thinking Jackson, Tatum or both, Ainge couldn’t reasonably back out of his claim now.

For what it’s worth, I would have seen Jackson (No. 3 on my board) as a reach at No. 1. I see Taytum (No. 9 on my board) as a reach at No. 3, let alone No. 1.

Warriors break record by paying $3.5 million for draft rights to Jordan Bell

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The Thunder paid the Hawks $3 million for the draft rights to No. 31 pick Tibor Pleiss in 2010. Last year, the Nets paid $3 million just to move up 13 spots in the second round to get Isaiah Whitehead.

The Warriors surpassed that amount, previously the record for spending on a draft pick, to buy the No. 38 pick from the Bulls and get Jordan Bell last night.

Marcus Thompson of The Mercury News:

Golden State also bought the No. 38 pick last year to get a player I rated as first-round caliber, Patrick McCaw, whose rights cost “just” $2.4 million. McCaw had a promising rookie year and even contributed in the NBA Finals.

Bell – whose draft rights drew the maximum-allowable $3.5 million – could achieve similar success. I rated him No. 31 but in the same tier as other first-round-caliber prospects. He’s a versatile defender, capable of protecting the rim and switching onto guards. He’s obviously not nearly the same level, but Bell is in the Draymond Green mold defensively. Bell’s offense doesn’t come close to Green’s, though. Bell could fill a role sooner than later when Golden State needs a defensive-minded sub.

The Warriors have generated massive revenue during their dominant run the last few years. Now, they’re putting some of that money back into the on-court product. Success breeds success – especially when the owners don’t just pocket the profits.