Complete NBA Draft Combine invite list

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This Wednesday we start putting some numbers on the guys likely to be picked up in this year’s draft — how tall are they exactly, what is their wingspan, their vertical leap, their shuttle times.

This Wednesday in Chicago starts the NBA Draft Combine, where 60 guys will get run through their paces — and they will be poked and prodded and tested in front of GMs, coaches and scouts from every team in the league.

Then they will go through the interview process with a number of teams, which is what may really make or break some guys.

The combine isn’t going to change the top of the draft — scouts are plenty familiar with those guys. But if a guy on the draft bubble measures taller than expected, shows more athleticism than expected, or comes off poorly in the interviews it can impact their stock.

Here is an alphabetical list of all 60 guys invited (not all 60 will attend, not all those who attend will go through all the drills). The list also includes one European player (Dennis Schroeder) although several are projected as first round picks (PBT will have reports direct from Adidas EuroCamp next month).

Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
Vander Blue, Marquette
Lorenzo Brown, N.C. State
Reggie Bullock, North Carolina
Trey Burke, Michigan
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
Isaiah Canaan, Murray State
Jackie Carmichael, Illinois State
Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
Will Clyburn, Iowa State
Robert Covington, Tennessee State
Allen Crabbe, California
Seth Curry, Duke
Brandon Davies, BYU
Dewayne Dedmon, USC
Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
James Ennis, Long Beach State
Carrick Felix, Arizona State
Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
Rudy Gobert , France
Archie Goodwin, Kentucky
Erick Green, Virginia Tech
Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan
Solomon Hill, Arizona
Richard Howell, N.C. State
Colton Iverson, Colorado State
Pierre Jackson, Baylor
Grant Jerrett, Arizona
Myck Kabongo, Texas
Kenny Kadji, Miami
Ryan Kelly, Duke
Shane Larkin, Miami
Ricky Ledo, Providence
Alex Len, Maryland
C.J. Leslie, N.C. State
Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota
Ray McCallum, Detroit
C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
Ben McLemore, Kansas
Tony Mitchell, North Texas
Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Erik Murphy, Florida
Mike Muscala, Bucknell
Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Victor Oladipo, Indiana
Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
Brandon Paul, Illinois
Norvel Pelle, LA City Prep
Mason Plumlee, Duke
Otto Porter, Georgetown
Phil Pressey, Missouri
Glen Rice Jr., NBDL (Georgia Tech)
Andre Roberson, Colorado
Dennis Schroeder, Germany
Peyton Siva, Louisville
Tony Snell, New Mexico
James Southerland, Syracuse
Adonis Thomas, Memphis
Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State
Jeff Withey, Kansas
Nate Wolters, South Dakota State
B.J. Young, Arkansas
Cody Zeller, Indiana

Cleveland OKs last chunk of financing to upgrade Cavs’ arena

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland officials have committed the final chunk of financing for $140 million in upgrades planned at the Cavaliers’ home arena.

The makeover of Quicken Loans Arena would include more space for dining and gathering.

The cost of renovations to the concert and sports venue is being split by the city, the team, Cuyahoga County, and a convention and visitors bureau. The final total is expected to be roughly double the initial $140 million price tag, mostly because of interest over the next two decades.

Cleveland’s share is an estimated $88 million over 11 years, starting in 2024. Mayor Frank Jackson signed off on that Tuesday.

The county already approved the deal and agreed to sell bonds for the project.

The team committed to extend its lease at the arena to 2034. It is expected the team will make a bid to host the NBA All-Star game once renovations are complete.

Did Russell Westbrook really block a teammates shot to get ball back during Game 5?

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Well, this video plays right into the hands of the anti-Westbrook crowd.

The knock on Russell Westbrook‘s season-long triple double and MVP candidacy is that he is chasing stats, padding his numbers at the expense of efficiency and making the Thunder a better team. Basically, he’s looking out for himself and to heck with his teammates.

Which leads to this fourth-quarter video from Game 5.

It sure looks like Westbrook blocks Jerami Grant‘s shot to get the rebound (we only have the one camera angle here).

I would argue that this was just Westbrook being uber aggressive — the only way he ever plays — and he was going hard for the rebound and not noticing it was his teammate about to get the ball. Westbrook just wants the ball and gets it. But he also wants to win and would not have taken the ball out of Grant’s hands had he seen who it was in time to react.

Game 5 — where the Rockets eliminated the Thunder — was a microcosm of the Westbrook debate. Westbrook finished with 47 points on 15-of-34 shooting, but was 2-of-11 in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma City was +12 in the 41:52 that Westbrook played, but was -18 in the 6:07 he sat. You can read whatever you want into those numbers.

Much like the video above.

Former Pacers’ star Danny Granger on Paul George: “you can’t fault him if he leaves Indiana”

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There was a time when Paul George was an up-and-coming but raw young player on an Indiana team led by Danny Granger. It was when Granger went down injured that George was thrust into a larger role, where he thrived in the trial by fire.

Granger knows what it’s like to be the star player of the Pacers, and he knows George, so on Bill Reiter asked Granger his thoughts during an episode of CBS’ “Reiter Than You” and Granger’s answer was not what Pacers fans wanted to hear.

“You look at him in that press conference (after losing to Cleveland) and his face and the dejection on it – the guy wants to win. Money don’t make everybody happy, but winning and success and your craft, that does fill a void that a lot of these players have. So you can’t fault him if he leaves Indiana, I’ll tell you that.”

Oh, Pacers fans will fault him. Even if he’s traded.

Pacers’ decision maker Larry Bird isn’t going to do anything until he sees if George makes an All-NBA Team, because if he does Indiana can offer him the new “designated player” contract this summer worth around $80 million more guaranteed than any other team can offer. George will not walk away from that.

However, if, as expected, George doesn’t make an All-NBA team, Bird is going to have to revisit the idea of trading George, who can be a free agent in 2018 — and the sense around the league is he will walk away at that point if the Pacers are not contenders. (There are a lot of Lakers’ rumors there, but whether George would leave a team where he is dragging lesser players to a low playoff seed and a first-round exit in Indiana for the same situation in his old hometown is up for debate.)

Bird isn’t going to deal George for pennies on the dollar at this point — think the Kings’ trading DeMarcus Cousins — but if some team comes through with a legitimate quality offer of young players that can help jump start the rebuild in Indiana, he may have to jump at it.

Either way, Granger is right that you can’t blame George for wanting to move on, but plenty of fans will anyway.

Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley keep trading insults in postgame press conferences

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Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley were having their war of words during Tuesday night’s close-out game that ended the Thunder season, and they both picked up technical fouls for it.

The two continued that postgame speaking to the media.

Westbrook was up first, and he was asked what happened between him and Beverley (see the video above).

“He was talking about he was first team all-defense, but I didn’t know what the hell he was talking about because I had 42 at the time, I don’t know, maybe he was dreaming or some s—.”

You know the media was going to ask Beverley about that.

“He said no can guard me I’ve got 40 points, I’m like, that’s nice but you took 34 shots to get it.”

So, no Christmas card exchange for those two.

For the record, Westbrook finished the game with 47 points on 15-of-34 shooting, but he was 2-of-11 in the fourth quarter as he started to wear down. The Thunder were +12 in the 41:52 that Westbrook played, but were -18 in the 6:07 he sat to get rest. The game was almost a Rorschach test for what you think of Westbrook on the season — he wasn’t terribly efficient, but he carried OKC as far as he could, that just wasn’t as far as James Harden could take a superior Rockets’ team. If you were in the Harden (or Kawhi Leonard) for MVP camp, you can point to the inefficiency and the end result. If you’re team Westbrook you can point to the raw numbers and what happened in the limited time he sat.

Also, Beverley is going to make an NBA All-Defensive team. If he doesn’t make the first team, that’s more about the time he missed due to injury (and a good field of guards who can defend) than his play.

Beverley has the advantage now of being able to turn his attention to how to defend Tony Parker (or maybe Mike Conley), as the Rockets are advancing to the next round.