Top prospects pose together with NBA Commissioner David Stern for a group picture before the start of the 2013 NBA Draft in Brooklyn,  New York

NBA Draft pick-by-pick tracker

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The time for rumors, smokescreens and agents pumping up clients is gone — NBA teams are on the clock.

The 2013 NBA Draft is here.

In this post we will update you with every pick, telling you a little about the player your team just selected. We’ll also keep you up to date with all the trade action going on (and there could be a lot of that tonight). Just hit refresh and you’ll have the latest news and analysis as teams sort through a crop of players with a lot of potential but a lot of questions.

Let’s get this underway with the annual booing of David Stern (one last time).

FIRST ROUND

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Anthony Bennett (6’7” power forward, UNLV). This is a SHOCKER. Nobody had this, the Cavs really did hold their cards close to their vest. Bennett is long and strong and is a beast in the paint. He has a big physical frame who has thrown down some of the best dunks of the college season (Kyrie Irving is going to love throwing the ball to him in transition). He’s shown flashes of an outside shot and handles, but can he do that consistently at the next level against better talent? There are also questions about his defense, but the Cavaliers must have liked the answers they got.

2. Orlando Magic: Victor Oladipo (6’4” shooting guard, Indiana). Maybe the most sure thing in this draft — he’s going to be good. A ridiculous athlete — he had a 42” vertical leap at the combine. Reports from a number of teams say he impressed in workouts. He’s strong and his physicality makes him a good defender and strong on the boards for his position. Plus, the guy is just active all the time. His shooting improved this season as he hit 44 percent from three and he’s a force in transition. But he’s not a guy who can create his own offense, particularly in isolation (he struggled in college, will be worse in the pros). But he is ready to step in and play minutes and could be the two guard of the future for the Magic.

3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter (6’9” small forward, Georgetown). He is probably the most polished and ready to contribute now player of the top picks in this draft, and he comes with the kind of motor that fans will love. He has good size and should be a solid NBA defender for his position, and he showed an improved shooting stroke this season (42.2 percent fro three). He is going to have to work off the ball in the NBA and that’s an adjustment. Understand he is a third or fourth option on a NBA team, but he can be a quality role player working with John Wall.

4. Charlotte Bobcats: Cody Zeller (7’0” center, Indiana). This was much higher than he was expected to go. He helped his cause with some with surprising athletic testing at the NBA Draft Combine. He has legit NBA center size and has good mobility for a big. He has quality posts moves plus he runs the floor well and can finish in transition. In college he struggled against stronger players, he’s going to need to show he can defend at the NBA level. He should be a solid rotation player off the bench and maybe develop into more down the line. This smells of a Michael Jordan, not a Rich Cho, draft pick.

5. Phoenix Suns: Alex Len (7’1” center, Maryland). This guy has all the physical tools you want in a center — moves well, soft hands, good touch around the rim, can pass, blocks shots, rebounds. He’s a bit raw offensively, but he’s got a lot of potential because all the tools are there. It was hard to read at Maryland how good he was because guards couldn’t get him the ball (the floor spacing was terrible). The questions are how tough he can be and why was his energy was inconsistent. Also, he had surgery on a stress fracture in his ankle, he should be fine but he hasn’t done any workouts and will not be playing in Summer League.

6. New Orleans Pelicans: Nerlens Noel (7’0” center, Kentucky): The Pelicans have traded him to the 76ers for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday — a smart move, the Sixers need a center and the Pelicans already have Anthony Davis. The Pelicans also get the Sixers 2014 first round pick, although there are some protections on that.

Athletes like Noel don’t come along all that often — which is why he was so high on draft boards. Noel 7-feet tall with a 7’4” wingspan who runs the floor like a guard, can leap out of the building and has good shot blocking instincts. He’s got the potential to be a force on the defensive end and the glass. Offensively he can finish in transition but is otherwise raw and needs a lot of work. He also needs to add strength. How he develops on offense will determine how high his ceiling goes. But he is going to miss the first part of the season coming off ACL surgery and it is likely year three before he contributes much of anything.

7. Sacramento Kings: Ben McLemore (6’4” shooting guard, Kansas). The Kings wanted him, were considering trading up to get him, and he fell right to them. This is a great pick for the Kings. He’s athletic and has a silky-smooth shot that has led some to use a Ray Allen comparison. That’s a little steep for my taste, but he’s a late bloomer and a guy you can say the most overused of draft buzzword about — upside — and be right. But because he isn’t great at creating his own shot McLemore has disappeared in some big games and at the end of other key games. But he can shoot the rock, and the Kings need a guy who can space the floor with his shot.

8. Detroit Pistons: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (6’6” shooting guard, Georgia). One of the best pure shooters in the draft — he has a pretty form and NBA range. He shot just 37 percent from three this past season (and had some struggles in workouts) but teams are sold on him as a shooter. He’s a solid athlete and could become a plus defender with work. He’s not going to create his own shots, get to the rim, nor is he the guy you want making decisions with the ball in his hands. But he can shoot.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Trey Burke (6’0” point guard, Michigan). He has been traded to the Utah Jazz, which makes a lot more sense — Utah needs a point and Burke can play right now. The Timberwolves get Utah’s No. 14 and No. 21 picks in this draft. Maybe the most household name in this draft thanks to his NCAA Tournament play. He may also be the rookie with the biggest impact next season. He is a very good offensive player, especially off the pick and roll. He can shoot with range or drive the paint and he has good court vision. The only questions are his height and how that impacts his defense. But nobody questions his heart, he is a leader.

10. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum (6’3” combo guard, Lehigh). He had to do pretty much everything on offense in college and did it pretty well — he can penetrate with a quick first step, shoot off the bounce, plus he can work off the ball and knock down catch-and-shoot jumpers. He is more of a scoring point guard, less of a traditional point. There are questions about his defense at the next level. He had foot surgery but showed no signs of issues in workouts for teams. He had a constant green light in college, can he rein it in when he is not the elite player on the team?

11. Philadelphia 76ers: Michael Carter-Williams (6’6” point guard, Syracuse). They just sent away Jrue Holiday in a trade, so they needed a point of the future. If you like tall point guards, he is your guy. That length helps make him a good perimeter defender. He has good ball handling skills, good court sense, he can get into the paint to create offense and put he up points at Syracuse — but he was not efficient doing it. He shot 43.8 percent on two pointers and 29 percent from three last season. However he was turnover prone, did not make good decisions in the offense, and teams will just play off him and dare him to shoot from the outside.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Steven Adams (7’0” center, Pittsburgh). They want some size in the middle (is this another sign Kendrick Perkins is on his way out? Adams has a lot of raw tools — legit NBA big man at 255 pounds, plus very mobile — and he climbed the ranks after the combine when he showed more skill than expected. He’s a bit of a project, especially on offense, but he has a nice ceiling and he can give you some defense and rebounding right away.

13. Boston Celtics (via the Dallas Mavericks): Kelly Olynyk (7’0” center, Gonzaga): We knew that Dallas wanted out, they get the Celtics No. 16 (which they likely trade) and two future second rounders. Olynyk is more than just that guy with long hair — he has size, moves well and has a really good scoring touch. In a league that values efficient scorers, Olynk is that (he shot 65 percent this season). But coming out of a small conference there are questions about how he deals with the size and athleticism he will see in the NBA. There are questions about his defense. They will love him in Boston, let’s see if he can perform at that level.

14. Minnesota Timberwolves (via the Utah Jazz): Shabazz Muhammad (6’6” shooting guard, UCLA). This pick goes to Minnesota as part of the Trey Burke trade with Utah. Coming out of high school Muhammad was considered a likely top three pick, but the combination of holes in his game, questions about his attitude and revelations he was a year older than advertised had him slide. He’s a more rotation player than a guy who can be a franchise cornerstone. That said he is athletic and strong, he knows how to score a variety of ways, and he can defend. He will work hard. But he doesn’t use his right hand well and doesn’t create off the dribble well. However, Ricky Rubio is going to love how he works off the ball.

15. Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis Antetokounmpo (6’9” small forward, Greece). He is raw. He has the physical tools but this is all about upside (or whatever buzzword you want). His game is kind of a point-forward style. He has the physical tools to be impressive on both ends eventually — picture a Lamar Odom like guy who can get the rebound then lead the break himself. But he doesn’t have perimeter shooting skills yet, he has a long way to go on defense and there are questions about what his athletic ceiling is.

16: Boston Celtics (via Dallas Mavericks): Lucas Nogueira (7’0” center, Brazil). He will be traded to the Atlanta Hawks. He’s been described as a poor man’s Nerlens Noel — athletic, raw, skinny shot blocker but without Noel’s level of upside. He can defend once he gets stronger but offensively is a project (although he can finish around the rim). Our own Brett Pollakoff saw him at EuroCamp and broke him down in more detail.

17. Atlanta Hawks: Dennis Schroeder (6’2” point guard, Germany). Because of his style and his physical build — 6’2″ with a 6’7″ wingspan — he has some saying he’s a poor man’s Rajon Rondo. He has a very quick first step, he is a very good ball handler, and out in the open court he makes things happen. He improved a lot in the last year according to scouts, but there are questions about whether he is a score first or pass first guard, and how good the young player’s basketball IQ is. He wants to come to the NBA, not be stashed overseas.

18. Atlanta Hawks: Shane Larkin (5’11”point guard, Miami). He gets traded to Dallas as part of a pervious deal, and they want a new point guard there so he will get his chance. Yes, this Larkin is the son of baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin — and he has his father’s athleticism. He is a good pick-and-roll point guard who can bury the jumper if you go under the pick. He is quick with the ball and can get  in the lane if you give him room to attack off a pick. He can pass and score, but he doesn’t get to the line much. He’s undersized and that can cause finishing issues in the paint. Also, his size leads to some questions about his ability to defend in the NBA.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers: Sergey Karasev (6’7” small forward, Russia). He was good enough to make the Russian Olympic team at age 18. He’s also played at the highest level of the Russian league, so he is used to tough competition. In a draft of uncertainty he is considered a “safe” pick. Karasev is a shooter — he can knock down threes, is strong on the catch-and-shoot, and if you close out on him he is both a good passer and can put the ball on the floor and attack. Not a great athlete but he can carve out a place in the league.

20. Chicago Bulls: Tony Snell (6’7” small forward, New Mexico). He moved up draft boards after his Draft Combine and subsequent team workouts. He has a nice jump shot and does most of his damage from the perimeter — he shot 39 percent from three last season. But his ball handling is not where it needs to be for him to put the ball on the floor and create his own shot at the NBA level. Also, he needs to get stronger. If he works on his defense he could be a good 3-and-D player in the Association.

21. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Utah Jazz): Gorgui Dieng (6’11” center, Louisville). This is the second pick that goes to the Timberwolves as part of the Trey Burke trade with the Jazz. Dieng a raw offensive player who at 23 is on the old side for the NBA draft. Those things usually make you a second round pick, at best. But Dieng was an impressive defensive anchor for the national champion Cardinals and that pushed him higher because a lot of teams could use a defender like that. He can rebound and is a good passer but the defense is selling him — he can step in right now and give you some defensive minutes (behind Nikola Pekovic, if they re-sign him). Kind of Joel Anthony role (but maybe better).

22 Brooklyn Nets: Mason Plumlee (7’0” center, Duke): After four years at Duke we know this guy pretty well (not a lot of upside surprise here). He’s athletic and with great leaping ability, which makes him a strong rebounder and shot blocker on defense. He doesn’t have much of a post game and his midrange is spotty, he’s not going to get you a lot of points. He needs to get stronger and tougher to defend in the NBA. If he can be a good backup to Brook Lopez (and maybe learn from Kevin Garnett) he could be a solid addition.

23. Indiana Pacers: Solomon Hill (6’7″ small forward, Arizona). This is a surprise, he was projected as a second rounder if he was picked at all. He has a versatile, all-around game, he shot 39 percent from three, and was a real leader at Arizona. But there are real questions about his defense (he can’t stop penetration, doesn’t close out well) and his level of athleticism.

24. New York Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr. (6’6” shooting guard, Michigan): The Knicks got an outside shooter, which could be a good fit. Yes, he’s the son of an NBA legend, but he’s not his dad. He is a good shooter (particularly working off the ball on  catch-and-shoots) who can put the rock on the floor and attack the rim. But he makes poor decisions sometimes, particularly when he tries to create for himself and ends up taking tough, contested shots. Which is what the Knicks do not need more of.

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Reggie Bullock (6’7” small forward, North Carolina). He can be a wing who stretches defense with his shot — he shot 42.9 percent from three last season and is good on the catch-and-shoot. The Clippers could use the shooting. However, he isn’t great from the midrange and he’s not great when he has to handle the rock. He works hard on defense, which Doc Rivers will demand. He has real NBA wing role player potential.

26. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Minnesota Timberwolves): Andre Roberson (6’7″ power forward, Colorado). He is offensively raw — he’s athletic and can score around the basket but doesn’t have a jump shot, or the ability to put the ball on the floor, or polish, and didn’t seem to improve in the past year. But he works hard on the court, is a great rebounder and can certainly leap. He’s an athlete that OKC needs to mold and develop.

27. Denver Nuggets: Rudy Gobert (7’2” center, France): He has been traded to the Utah Jazz. Gobert turned a lot of heads at the NBA Draft Combine — he had a 7’9” wingspan and a standing reach of 9’7”. In drills at the combine he altered and blocked a lot of shots. He’s very raw on the offensive end and he needs to put on weight, but he’s seen as a guy who can be a big impact on the defensive end and has a lot of potential on the other side of the ball. Could be a steal in this draft, could go bust.

28. San Antonio Spurs: Livio Jean-Charles (6’9” combo forward, French Guiana). He put on a show at the Nike Hoop Summit back in April, looking good in practice and then dropping 27 points and 13 rebounds against the USA Junior National Select Team. He’s very long and very athletic, he has a great motor and works hard off the ball. He’s going to have to get a lot stronger without losing that quickness to hang in the NBA, he needs better outside shot, and his ball handling must improve. But this is a great potential upside pick in the second round.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Archie Goodwin (6’5” shooting guard, Kentucky). He was the inefficient leading scorer on an inefficient Kentucky team last season. He has all the physical tools you want in a two-guard — long, athletic, he is a good ball handler who can attack the rim. But he’s a shooting guard who doesn’t shoot well (44 percent overall, 27 percent from three). He also struggles to finish in the paint against good defenders. A lot of potential here but he is a raw product.

30. Phoenix Suns: Nemanja Nedovic (6’4” combo guard, Serbia). He’s a strong, athletic guard who turned a few heads at adidas Eurocamp, until he turned his ankle and was sidelined. He’s fine when attacking the rim and he is an aggressive player. But his pure point guard skills are in question and if you’re going to be a scoring point guard you need to finish and shoot jumpers better than he does. This is a pick about potential and upside down the line, he has the physical tools.

SECOND ROUND

31. Cleveland Cavaliers: Allen Crabbe (6’6” shooting guard, California). One of the best shooters in the draft — he can score in the midrange and has deep range with his shot. He averaged 18.6 points per game and is strong on the catch-and-shoot, which helped him become the Pac 12 Player of the Year. He’s got good size for a two guard but he’s not as explosive an athlete as the guys he will be matched up against (and have to cover). He can’t create his own shot and he’s not great when he has to finish inside. It’s all about the jump shot with him.

32. Oklahoma City Thunder: Alex Abrines (6’5” shooting guard, Spain). He played at the highest levels of Europe last season for Barcelona at age 19 (although in a reserve role), so you know he has some skills. The guy can shoot the rock with NBA three range, especially off the catch and shoot, and he moves well off the ball. He’s got a good IQ for the game. He’s a project still, he doesn’t create his own shot and often turns the ball over when he tries, plus there are defensive questions. Can be stashed in Europe for a couple more years to develop.

33. Cleveland Cavaliers: Carrick Felix (6’6” shooting guard, Arizona State). This was a bit of a surprise pick but he reportedly impressed teams during workouts. He’s an athletic player known for his defense. He averaged 14.6 points per game and shot 37 percent from three, and he’s a guy who works well off the ball (which is a good thing around Kyrie Irving).

34. Houston Rockets: Isaiah Canaan (6’0” point guard, Murray State). He climbed draft boards during workouts as he had strong showings against guys ranked ahead of him. He plays with a real intensity, has a good jump shot (with three point range) but can also but the rock on the floor and get to the rim. He looks to score but he’s not great at getting teammates involved. He’s not big for an NBA player, which leads to questions about how he can defend at the NBA level.

35. Philadelphia 76ers: Glen Rice Jr. (6’6” small forward, D-League). He has been traded to the Washington Wizards. The son of one of the better shooters the NBA has ever seen was booted off Georgia Tech after his junior season and went the D-League route to the NBA. He’s a 2/3 swingman who works hard at both ends of the court and has good size. He can shoot the ball (38 percent from three in the D-League) but can also put the ball on the floor and get to the rim (and draw fouls). He doesn’t really create his own looks that well. There are questions about how good his defense is, as well as his focus. He had off the court issues at Georgia Tech but not in the D-League.

36. Sacramento Kings: Ray McCallum (6’2” point guard, Detroit). He’s solid. Good size and athleticism for an NBA point guard, and he is strong. He’s got a good basketball IQ and is a pass-first point guard with good ball handling skills. He’s at his best in transition. But there are questions about how his game translates to the NBA (he wasn’t strong off the pick-and-roll). He’s a guy with a lot of good skills but none that are elite.

37. Detroit Pistons Tony Mitchell (6’9” power forward, North Texas). He has big talent but fell down draft boards pretty quickly after his game regressed last season. He has good size and good athleticism — when he uses that to rebound or score in transition he does well. But he turned the ball over on 18 percent of his possessions last season and shot poorly as he seemed to drift away from the basket. There are questions about his effort, his shot selection, and if he can add the polish his game needs. But the raw tools are there.

38. Washington Wizards: Nate Wolters (6’5” point guard, South Dakota State). He was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks and will play there. He’s a smart point guard who can shoot (38 percent from three last year), is a good ball handler, can score or set the table for others. The question is simply athleticism — he doesn’t have the quickness, strength or explosiveness of the guys that will cover him or that he has to cover. If his crafty play can overcome that he can carve out a reserve point guard role in the league.

39. Portland Trail Blazers: Jeff Withey (7’0” center, Kansas). This is a steal of a pick in the second round. He is a legit NBA center who can come in immediately and help defensively off the bench — he was the best defensive big in the NCAA last season. He is a good shot blocker and defensive rebounder. Get him the rock and he can finish around the rim. He is limited offensively and he’s not likely to develop into much more than he is now, but who couldn’t use a defensive big in the paint?

40. Portland Trail Blazers: Grant Jarrett (6’10” power forward, Arizona). A highly rated recruit out of high school, he didn’t blow anyone away as a freshman at Arizona (5.2 points a game on 40 percent shooting), so him coming out was a surprise. He could be a stretch four — he relies on the jump shot and did shoot 40 percent from three. Average athlete who is going to have to improve a lot to stick in the NBA.

41. Memphis Grizzlies: Jamaal Franklin (6’5” shooting guard, San Diego State). This is a fantastic second round pick, a lot of people thought he was first round talent. He’s one of the best athletes in the draft. He’s good in in transition, attacks the rim and can throw down dunks with anyone. He has real potential as a defender. But he’s a shooting guard who can’t shoot (40.4 percent shooting overall in college, 21 percent on contested jumpers, 23 percent on catch-and-shoots). He has to develop a shot.

42. Philadelphia 76ers: Pierre Jackson (5’10” point guard, Baylor). He’s athletic (44 inch vertical) and quick off the dribble, allowing him to split double teams and get into the paint. He also has three point range shooting you have to respect. His ball handling and speed get him into the lane, but he has trouble finishing consistently against length (and the NBA has a lot of length). Also, his size has scouts thinking he will be a defensive liability.

43. Milwaukee Bucks: Ricky Ledo (6’6” combo guard, Providence): He has been traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. Saying he played for Providence is a misnomer — he practiced with the team but was never cleared by the NCAA to play. The guy is very athletic and can score with his jumper or attacking the rim. He impressed scouts with those skills at the NBA Draft Combine. The question isn’t his skills, it’s his choices on the court and his choices off it. Maybe the best comparison is he could be a Lance Stephenson kind of impact if things go right, but he could be out of the league in two years.

44. Dallas Mavericks: Mike Muscala (6’11” center, Bucknell): He has been traded to the Atlanta Hawks. Muscala developed into a guy that could score inside or outside scorer who was the focus of the Bison offense. He’s got a lot of polish on his game, like you expect from a senior. He’s not strong or athletic enough to be a classic center in the NBA, but scouts think he could be a nice stretch four. Good second round pick.

45. Portland Trail Blazers: Marko Todorovic (6”11” center, Montenegro). He was good enough to play for Barcelona in Spain, so he’s got some skills. He’s got an NBA center’s body (240 pounds) and he moves well and can finish around the rim, but he is a project who lacks polish right now. He could be stashed in Europe for a few years.

46. Utah Jazz: Erick Green (6’3” combo guard, Virginia Tech). He has been traded to the Denver Nuggets. The ACC Player of the Year can score the basketball — he has a respectable outside shot (38 percent from three) and a very quick first step to get to the rim. He is very dangerous in transition yet made smart passes and kept his turnover rate down. But he’s a tweener, a scoring point who both needs to get stronger and finish better among the trees that patrol the lane in the NBA. Also there are questions about his defense.

47. Atlanta Hawks: Raul Neto (6’2” point guard, Brazil). He impressed our own Brett Pollakoff at EuroCamp, where he was more of a scoring point guard. He can penetrate and blow up defenses, plus he is a good passer with good vision. He plays in Spain and can be stashed overseas for a year or two.

48. Los Angeles Lakers: Ryan Kelly (7’0” power forward, Duke). This is a Mike D’Antoni pick — Kelly is a stretch four like the coach prefers. He shot 42 percent from three last season and offensively lives on the perimeter. He’s neither terribly athletic nor strong and there are questions about his defense.

49. Chicago Bulls: Erik Murphy (6’10” power forward, Florida). He’s a big strong body who projects as a potential stretch four, he shot 45 percent from three his senior season. He moves fairly well for a big. Murphy can defend a guy in the post, but there are questions if he can defend at the NBA level and if he can provide much rebounding (stretch fours often have bad numbers here). If he can’t defend he will not last long with Tom Thibodeau.

50. Atlanta Hawks: James Ennis (6’7” small forward, Long Beach State). He has been traded to the Miami Heat. That said — YES! As a Long Beach State season ticket holder I was hoping some team would give Ennis a chance, he has developed a lot in the last couple years and can become a solid NBA player if he keeps working. Ennis has the athleticism the Heat will like — he is long and a great leaper, and because of that he can finish in transition. His future is as a “3 and D” guy, he shot 35 percent from deep last year and he is raw still on the offensive end and can improve. He came to basketball late (from track) and need time on the court to get used to the game more (he’s a good candidate to spend some time in the D-League). But he could develop into a solid NBA role player, the question is if the Heat will wait for him to develop, or do their roster spots go to veterans who can help right now?

51. Orlando Magic: Romero Osby (6’8” power forward, Oklahoma). He’s a bit of a surprise pick because the book on him is he doesn’t have NBA athleticism, but if every guy on your team played as hard as he does you’d win a lot more games. There are hustle guys that carve out niche’s and stick around in the league.

52. Minnesota Timberwolves: Lorenzo Brown (6’5” point guard, North Carolina State). His draft stock fell as his game seemed to regress this past season, but in the late second round this is a solid pick. He’s got good size as a point guard and is a quality ball handler who is quick with the ball. He has good playmaking skills but there are real concerns about him as a scorer — he shot 26 percent from three and had trouble finishing in the lane. If he can develop a jumper he is a steal.

53. Indiana Pacers: Colton Iverson (7’0” center, Colorado State). He has been traded to the Boston Celtics. Iverson is big, strong, physical and he works hard on the court. He’s got a solid back-to-the-basket game and he’s going to get you rebounds. But he is not near the level of athlete he will have to face at the next level, so we’ll see how he adapts. As a four-year senior, scouts wonder how much his game can grow.

54. Washington Wizards: Arsalan Kazemi (6’8” power forward, Oregon). He has been traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Iranian born forward is a strong rebounder with the potential to round out the rest of his game. He’s a guy that the analytics guys (like the front office in Philly) liked as he graded out well.

55. Memphis Grizzies: Joffrey Lauvergne (6’11” power forward, France). He has been traded to Denver. He’s a good athlete and a mobile big man who style wise should fit in Denver that way. He’s raw offensively but improving, and he’s a guy who gets stashed away in Europe for a few more years.

56. Detroit Pistons: Peyton Siva (6’1” point guard, Louisville). He was the point guard who helped lead the Cardinals to the national title. He’s a very good athlete who uses that physicality well on the defensive end. But he doesn’t have much of a jump shot (he shot 29 percent on jumpers last season) and his overall offensive game is lacking. We’ll see if his D is enough to get him a roster spot.

57. Phoenix Suns: Alex Oriakhi (6’10” center, Missouri). He has good size and he brings a lot of effort to defense and rebounding. He doesn’t bring a lot of offense to the table.

58. San Antonio Spurs: Deshaun Thomas (6’7” small forward, Ohio State). While he really played a combo role in college, he’ll be more of a three in the pros. He can score inside and out, has an NBA body, and he has a good catch-and-shoot jump shot that you know the Spurs will put to good use. He has NBA three point range. The guy can score. But there are serious questions about both his defensive skills and his effort at that end of the floor. Great landing spot if he puts in the effort.

59. Minnesota Timberwolves: Bojan Dubljevic (6’10” power forward, Serbia). He played for Valencia at the top level of the Spanish league last year, and DraftExpress described his role as a “stretch 5,” so imagine him as a Euro stretch 4 in the NBA. He’s got some post moves as well as shooting range, and he plays a smart game. But he’s not an explosive athlete, not a great rebounder and there are questions about whether he can translate his game to the NBA.

60. Memphis Grizzlies: Janis Timma (6’7” small forward, Latvia). He will be stashed in Europe for a few years. He’s a good athlete who has the size to play the three in the NBA. He needs to work on his jump shot while he plays a couple more seasons overseas.

Report: Nuggets actively trying to trade Jusuf Nurkic

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 17:  Kyle O'Quinn #9 of the New York Knicks guards Jusuf Nurkic #23 of the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on December 17, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that , by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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Jusuf Nurkic and Nikola Jokic have been healthy and productive for the Nuggets in the last two seasons.

Just not at the same time.

So, Denver wanted to test its bigs together this season, to see whether they could form a long-term pairing. The Nuggets experimented, and the results are in: Nurkic and Jokic can’t play together.

Here are Denver’s offensive/defensive/net ratings with:

  • Just Jokic: 115.7/109.9/+5.9
  • Just Nurkic: 99.2/107.9/-8.7
  • Both: 93.2/109.3/-16.1

So, the Nuggets are making the logical choice to build around Jokic.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

A player who is sure to move between now and the trade deadline?

Denver’s Jusuf Nurkic.

Sources say that the Nuggets, having acknowledged that Nikola Jokic and Nurkic didn’t click as a pairing, are actively working to find Nurkic a new home that would give him the chance he deserves to be a front-line center.

Nurkic can help a lot of teams. Just not the Nuggets.

Only 22, he’s an intimidating interior presence. He scores well in the paint, and he provides tough defense. He has lowered his high foul rate. If reducing turnovers is the next step in refining his game, that’d be welcome.

It shouldn’t be difficult to find a team that values Nurkic more than Denver does. It’s just a matter of determining which team values him most.

Kenneth Faried can handle the role in certain matchups, but if they trade Nurkic, the Nuggets will need someone to play center when Jokic sits. Still, that’s a small complication in a plan that makes sense overall.

Despite being anchored by 108 minutes of Jokic and Nurkic sharing the court, Denver is in playoff position at 18-25. Simply removing Nurkic from the starting lineup has produced a 9-8 stretch. The Nuggets have moved on with Jokic as a franchise cornerstone. It’s time to get Nurkic to a place he can thrive.

Report: Phil Jackson told Carmelo Anthony he disagreed with Charley Rosen’s criticism

New York Knicks president Phil Jackson watches from the stands during the second half of the Knicks' NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Madison Square Garden in New York, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017.  The Pelicans won 110-96. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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Carmelo Anthony told Knicks president Phil Jackson he wanted to stay in New York.

But what does Jackson want?

That’s the big unknown. Phil Jackson mouthpiece Charley Rosen wrote Carmelo Anthony outlived his usefulness in New York. Anthony took that as a comment from Jackson himself.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

In the meeting, Jackson told Anthony he did not subscribe to the criticisms in the article and the story did not speak for him, sources said.

Al Iannazzone of Newsday:

A league source with knowledge of the team’s thinking said before the Tuesday meeting that the Knicks want Anthony to stay “as long as it’s mutual.”

Anthony holds the final say due to his no-trade clause, but he also said he’d consider waiving it if the Knicks want to rebuild. So, Jackson’s opinion matters.

Most likely, the uneasy partnership continues. Anthony remains with the Knicks, because he likes the overall package – living and playing in New York – enough to handle the downsides. The Knicks keep losing, because they’ve committed too much to a declining Anthony and have failed to add quality pieces around him.

It could make sense to rebuild around Kristaps Porzingis, though that would likely mean moving Anthony, Joakim Noah and Courtney Lee. It seems nobody wants to go to that much trouble with Anthony preferring to stay.

NBA Power Rankings week 14: Golden State is setting the bar high for everyone else

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, center, gestures to fans in the stands while watching from the bench with forward Kevin Durant, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
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The Warriors have solidified their place at the top of these rankings, but from about 10-20 I feel like any team could get hot and make a leap — or get cold and fall fast. Also, Brooklyn is the Bizarro Warriors, having solidified their spot on the bottom of these rankings.

 
Warriors small icon 1. Warriors (38-6, Last Week No. 1). This was supposed to be a rough week, a test of the Golden State’s toughness — then they went out and beat the Cavaliers by 35, the Thunder by 21, and Rockets by 17. Golden State now has the top rated offense AND defense in the NBA for the season. And as much as they aren’t trying, they are on pace to win 70 games. So yes, they have set the bar to clear this season, again. Five of their next seven games are on the road.

 
Spurs small icon 2. Spurs (34-9, LW 2). The loss of Pau Gasol for a couple months (give or take) is a setback, but this team just keeps on rolling — see the win over the Cavaliers. Is it time we started mentioning this team as a real contender? I still have questions about their athleticism and if that haunts them in a seven-game series against elite teams, but the Spurs just know how to win, and they are going to be there deep into the playoffs. If we get a Spurs/Cavaliers NBA Finals, their Sunday night overtime thriller showed that would be plenty entertaining.

 
Rockets small icon 3. Rockets (34-13, LW 3). They have dropped four of their last seven, and while you can understand losses to Golden State and a split with Memphis, losses like Miami sting. More alarming is that in their last seven games that vaunted offense has dropped out of the top 10 in the league (11th for that stretch). It should help that Clint Capela is back from injury and Ryan Anderson should be as well this week. They are on a four-game road swing through the East this week, including the Celtics and Sixers.

 
Cavaliers small icon 4. Cavaliers (30-12, LW 4). They got crushed by the Warriors — in a game they clearly didn’t take all that seriously — and fell to the Spurs on Saturday, meaning they have lost 4-of-6. That said, they have a 2.5 game cushion in the East and LeBron-led teams always seem to have these mini-slumps during the season, then they flip the switch back to “on.” Look for the Cavaliers to get right this week with games against Pelicans, Kings and Nets.

Jazz small icon 5. Jazz (29-16, LW 8). Utah has not had an All-Star representative since 2011, but that should change this week when at least one of (if not both) Gordon Hayward or Rudy Gobert get picked (Gobert having a 25/25 game recently has to help his cause). Utah has won six in a row — and that includes beating Cleveland. As the Clippers fall down the standings due to injury, the Jazz will be the four seed, and their goal should be to hold on to that spot and have home court in the first round.

 
Hawks small icon 6. Hawks (26-18 LW 11). They are 9-2 in January and are just half a game back of the Celtics for the three seed, which is why in these rankings they have made the leap — they may be the hottest team in the East. Will that be enough to get Paul Millsap an All-Star nod? He deserves it with his play and numbers, but he’s certainly on the bubble in the East with so many good guards and Joel Embiid playing well. As an aside, nobody seems to think Millsap is really off the trade market, but also nobody thinks anyone will put together an offer that will really tempt the Hawks.

 
Raptors small icon 7. Raptors (28-15, LW 6). They have lost three games in a row (and 8-of-14, if you go back), and now they will be without DeMar DeRozan for at least the first two games of this week. No Patrick Patterson is certainly part of that, they are already thin at the four, but more so they miss the Kyle Lowry’s shooting (he has shot 35.6% overall and 25.9% from three in those games), plus they have struggled to contain penetration on drives. Despite his recent struggles, Lowry should be selected as an All-Star reserve by the coaches.

 
Celtics small icon 8. Celtics (26-17, LW 7). He’s not going to be a starter like he arguably should have been, but Isaiah Thomas will be picked by the coaches and play in the All-Star Game next month. Thomas averaged 38.3 points a game last week — but the Celtics still lost to the Knicks and Trail Blazers. They miss Avery Bradley. That is why they haven’t moved past the Raptors on these rankings… yet. Not that anyone in Boston will notice or care too much about anything Celtics until after the Super Bowl.

 
Clippers small icon 9. Clippers (29-16, LW 5). Chris Paul needed surgery on his right hand and will be out until March, which is a huge blow as they are +15.9 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court (and have been outscored when he is off it, although there is a lot of noise in those numbers). On the bright side, Blake Griffin should return to the lineup this week or next. Still, the goal for the Clippers needs to be not to fall too far then climb back up to the four or five seed in the final month of the season — and stay healthy for the playoffs.

 
Wizards small icon 10. Wizards (23-20, LW 12). Is Sidney Lowe their best defender? Maybe he could have boxed out Marcus Morris last week, but either way remember that this team stumbled out of the gate (3-9) and have been good ever since. The Wizards have been particularly strong against the other middle-of-the-pack teams in the East and they need to continue that with the Hornets, Celtics, and Hawks on the schedule this week. The Wizards could use Bradley Beal to break out of his mini-slump.

 
Thunder small icon 11. Thunder (25-19, LW 9). Russell Westbrook seemed less concerned that he wasn’t an All-Star Game starter than the NBA Twitterers was, but we all know he’s just going to use that as more motivation (I’d bet on him to win the ASG MVP now). The Thunder are 1-3 on their current road trip and 4-6 through a tough stretch in January (that doesn’t let up until the end of the month, with tough games on the road in Utah and Cleveland this week).

 
Grizzlies small icon 12. Grizzlies (26-20, LW 10). Another team with a couple guys on the All-Star Game bubble: You can make a strong case for both Mike Conley and Marc Gasol. My guess is only one of them makes it in (along with one member of the Jazz, for balance). Of more immediate concern in Memphis is this team has lost 3-of-4 and the defense has been unimpressive in that stretch. Gasol’s offense has been fantastic of late, but he could use some help from Chandler Parsons.

 
Hornets small icon 13. Hornets (23-21, LW 17). The good news is they have won three in a row after a rough stretch (an 0-5 road trip where their defense was forgettable). Kemba Walker had a couple huge games in that stretch — will it be enough to get him named an All-Star Game reserve? He deserves it for his season, but with so many good guards and guys like Joel Embiid making a push, I fear that Walker will be the odd man out.

 
Pacers small icon 14. Pacers (22-21, LW 14).. The loss to the Lakers last week is the kind of game a team in a tight playoff race needs to win. As for the loss to Utah, that was just George Hill salt in the wound. Indiana is home for three of its next four, which is good because this team struggles to defend consistently on the road and is 6-16 away from the Fieldhouse, but is 16-6 at home.

 
Bulls small icon 15. Bulls (22-23, LW 13). Dwyane Wade is tweeting out apologies to fans for the team’s effort, and the front office is trying to find new homes for Rajon Rondo and Nikola Mirotic. Like TNT, the Bulls know drama. While the front office looks at roster tweets, the question becomes can Jimmy Butler get this team into the playoffs. They need wins against teams like Orlando, Atlanta, and Philly this week to do so, but who knows what we’ll get from the inconsistent Bulls.

 
Pistons small icon 16. Pistons (21-24, LW 19). The up-and-down Pistons are up again, having won three in a row — maybe all the trade rumors woke this team up (don’t look for Reggie Jackson to be moved unless some team comes up with a huge offer). Stanley Johnson has played better (and gotten more consistent run) of late, but the play of the week belonged to Marcus Morris.

 
Nuggets small icon 17. Nuggets (18-25, LW 23). Nikola Jokic is not going to be an All-Star this year, but keep having months like he has this January — averaging 23.4 points and 10.7 rebounds a game — and we will be talking about him a year from now. If I were going to keep an eye on a guy who could get moved at the deadline, it’s Jusuf Nurkic — he doesn’t fit with Jokic but he would have real value on other rosters.

 
Sixers small icon 18. 76ers (15-27, LW 25). When Joel Embiid plays — particularly with new starters T.J. McConnell and Nik Stauskas — the Sixers are a good team. The big question around the Sixers is will the coaches put Joel Embiid in the All-Star Game? My guess is no, they are a little old school because of his minutes restriction. Plus if he goes, a deserving player such as Kemba Walker stays home. But Embiid in New Orleans would be fun. #raisethecat

 
Bucks small icon 19. Bucks (20-23, LW 13). Kris Middleton can’t get back soon enough. The Bucks have dropped five games in a row, they have the worst net rating in the NBA in that stretch, and it’s not one end of the court — in those five games the Bucks had the second-worst defense and fourth-worst offense in the NBA. It’s going to be a tough week to turn that around with the Rockets, resurgent Sixers, Raptors, and Celtics on the schedule.

 
Blazers small icon 20. Trail Blazers (19-27, LW 16).. You wonder how a team with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum can be out of the playoffs in the West (if they started today), then you see they got crushed by the Hornets and lost to the Sixers thanks to Robert Covington and you see the inconsistency that plagues this squad. Portland starts a five-game homestand and this is where they need to start their push to secure the eight seed (not sure they can make up the 7 games for seventh) — if it doesn’t happen now it may never.

 
Knicks small icon 21. Knicks (19-26 LW 20). Carmelo Anthony’s run of seven consecutive All-Star Games will come to an and this season, but that’s the least of the drama around him the past week. At least with all the Anthony trade rumor talk we stopped discussing about Derrick Rose going AWOL (he’s had a few strong games lately). It’s been a hard-luck run for the Knicks, whose last three losses have come by a total of six points. But New York has had a run of close losses all season.

 
Pelicans small icon 22. Pelicans (17-27, LW 18). Anthony Davis is an All-Star starter for the game in his town, which is nice. It’s about the best thing you can say for the Pelicans in a week they let the Nets score 143 on them. The Pelicans are home this week and need to rack up wins to stay in the playoff chase, but with their games being against the Cavaliers, Thunder, Spurs and Wizards it’s not going to be that easy.

 
timberwolves small icon 23. Timberwolves (16-28, LW 22). In the key stretches of games last week, Tom Thibodeau went to a lineup of Kris Dunn, Tyus Jones, Andrew Wiggins, Zach LaVine, and Karl-Anthony Towns — and it worked. The youth movement beat the banged-up Clippers and the Nuggets. The Wolves have won 5-of-7 and are just 2.5 games out of the playoffs, if they are serious about making a run at that spot they need wins against teams like the Suns, Pacers, and Nets this week.

 
Mavericks small icon 24. Mavericks (15-29, LW 26). They have won 4-of-6 with Seth Curry in the starting lineup (he has shot 56 percent in that stretch), including thrashing the hapless Lakers. The Dallas offense is clicking, and that has made them a difficult out, which is good because we don’t want to see Dirk Nowitzki go out any other way (yes, I know he may well play another year, the point is valid).

 
Kings small icon 25. Kings (16-27, LW 21). Losers of five in a row and it’s hard to see bright playoff prospects for this team after losing Rudy Gay for the season with a torn Achilles. The phantom call on DeMarcus Cousins on Dwyane Wade didn’t help matters. Sacramento has started off 0-2 on an eight-game road trip may for good sink Vivek Ranadive’s playoff dreams for another season.

 
Suns small icon 26. Suns (15-29, LW 27). They may be hovering near the bottom of the West, but things like Eric Bledsoe’s 40 points against the Raptors, or Devin Booker’s game winner against the Knicks, give us a reason to watch this team. Booker now has 20 or more points in nine straight games.

 
Heat small icon 27. Heat (14-30, LW 29). They are on a three game winning streak, and it speaks to where the Heat are that all that does is make me wonder if it helps Goran Dragic’s trade value (he had a strong game against the Rockets 21/8/8). Or, to better phrase the question, will it drive up the trade value to what Pat Riley thinks he should get? Dion Waiters dropped 33 last week in a win, just wanted to point that out.

 
Magic small icon 28. Magic (18-28 LW 24). This team’s offense (already not striking fear into teams) stumbles badly without Evan Fournier in to provide spacing. Orlando can sell they are just 4.5 games out of the playoffs, but we all know they are not making it and need to make moves at the trade deadline thinking long term (such as unclogging the front court logjam).

 
Lakers small icon 29. Lakers (16-31, LW 28). Sunday, the Dallas Mavericks handed the Lakers the worst loss in franchise history (49 points). D’Angelo Russell is out for a couple weeks and it showed that game, they lacked his organization of the offense and the ball movement he sparks. Looking for a bright side? The Lakers lead the NBA in bench points per game at 49.6, which is the most since the league started tracking that stat in 1971.

 
Nets small icon 30. Nets (9-34, LW 30). No Jeremy Lin for another month or so as the Nets cement their place at the bottom of these rankings. Which makes Boston fans happy (they swap draft picks this year). The Nets snapped their 11-game losing streak by hanging 143 on the Pelicans — in their last five games the Nets have averaged 110.9 points per 100 possessions, top 10 in the NBA. Of course, they have given up 119.9, so things are not good, but the offense is putting up points.

Gregg Popovich: Sidney Lowe, Wizards got off easy

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs argues a call against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center on November 26, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe went onto the court and, according to Knicks guard Courtney Lee, verbally imitated a player.

The NBA fined Lowe $5,000 and Washington $15,000 and warned everyone more fines would follow for coaches displaying similar behavior.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t believe the league went far enough.

Popovich, via Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

“It’s unsportsmanlike, it’s childish, it’s inappropriate,” Popovich said. “There’s no place for it.”

“I think they got off easy,” Popovich said.

“What if that shot costs a playoff game because somebody does that?” Popovich continued. “Maybe that affects a coach being fired. Maybe a franchise winning a series. So if you think about it, maybe it’s worth it for 5 or 10 thousand to go do that.”

For the league to send a sterner warning about such antics, Popovich suggested steeper fines of $250,00 for the team and $50,000 to $75,000 for an offending coach.

“Everybody would sit their ass down,” Popovich said.

Regardless of circumstances, it’s notable that Popovich sided with the NBA against a fellow coach – especially over an incident that didn’t directly involve the Spurs. Most coaches, even those who share Popovich’s opinion, would stay out of it. Popovich and Lowe are both represented by the same union, which ostensibly tries to protect coaches’ paychecks. It’s one thing to criticize the highly unpopular president. It’s another to lash out at someone with whom you have a shared financial partnership.

Beyond that, Popovich is right. Coaches encroaching onto the court should be eliminated. Popovich’s claim of it being unsportsmanlike rings a little hollow, considering his own behavior. But coaches toeing the sideline to distract players detracts from the quality of the game and is unsafe. There are plenty of reasons to loath the behavior beyond it offending sensibilities.

That said, Popovich has the wrong plan to eliminate it. His proposed fines would be overly punitive to lower-paid assistant coaches – and still worth the tradeoff in certain situations.

The better solution: Call technical fouls, which the league acknowledged should’ve happened with Lowe. That eliminates all cost-benefit analysis and punishes teams directly within the game if they cross that line.