WCC Basketball Tournament - Championship Saint Mary's v Gonzaga

Gonzaga center Kelly Olynyk declares for NBA draft

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This was expected, it’s just strange to think of Gonzaga as a place players leave early to get to the NBA.

This was expected and now it is official, Gonzaga’s star center Kelly Olynyk has declared for the NBA draft reports the Spokane Spokesman-Review. He’s considered a late lottery, mid-first round pick, with DraftExpress having him at No. 13 right now.

You know him as that guy with the long hair who could blend in at a Kid Rock concert (well, except for when your 7’0” and 240 pounds you don’t really “blend in” anywhere).

Scouts know him for more than the hair — he has size, moves well and has a really good scoring touch. He averaged 17.3 points a game on 62 percent shooting — he shot 35 percent from three, so he has range — plus grabbed 7.3 rebounds a contest. That’s efficient, and teams like efficient big men. He runs the floor and could be a good pick-and-roll big with his mobility and touch.

The questions about him are the ones you see about a lot of guys coming out of smaller conferences — is he physical enough, can be a tough rebounder, and how will he do as an average athlete against more elite players? There are questions about his defensive ability, too.

We didn’t get to see a lot of him in the NCAA tournament as Gonzaga was one of Wichita State’s early victims.

He’s going to get an NBA shot, and big men who can score tend to stick around the NBA for a long time.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

Blake Griffin
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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.