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.

Lonzo Ball, other top draft picks expected to skip NBA Combine

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The NBA Draft Combine invites started going out Saturday — about 60-70 players are expected to be invited to a gym in Chicago for a couple of days of measurements, interviews, and tests, with a little basketball thrown in. The idea is for teams to get an up-close look (and accurate measurements) with guys they are going to invest time and, in some cases, millions of dollars in over the next several years.

However, the guys at the top of the draft are not going to be in Chicago, as Shams Charania and Bobby Marks of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports noted.

This is the same as with the NFL combine, the top picks see only bad things that can happen by taking part, there’s no upside but their stock could fall, so they stay away.

That’s not about to change. Also, a lot of international players skip the combine. That opens up some slots for more fringe guys, players who may or may not get drafted in the second round, to come in and impress. (Check out Jonathan Givony’s Twitter timeline to get a sense of who got invited and who didn’t.)

Teams looking at drafting the top handful, the elite guys, have already had scouts watch every college and many high school games, not to mention seeing their AAU teams and catching them at things like the Nike Summit or Adidas Nations events. They’ve talked to the guy’s former coaches and others around him, they have a good sense of who he is and is not.

Well, as much as one can in any draft. It’s still a crap shoot. A player can have all the skills, all the physical gifts, be a good person, but what happens once they face real adversity? Or, have to deal with money and temptations? What would you have been like at age 20 with millions of dollars and all the hedonistic temptations of the NBA lifestyle thrown at you? Or, how do does a team know which young players with some very raw skills have the drive and passion for maximizing those talents? Predicting how a 19- or 20-year-old will mature is not an easy task.

Dwyane Wade says he wants to see plan for Bulls before deciding on player option

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I can think of $23.8 million reasons Dwyane Wade will be back with the Chicago Bulls next season. Sure, he’s made more than $175 million on the court and more in endorsements during his Hall of Fame career. Still, that’s a lot of money to walk away from and he has the player option. It’s Wade’s call.

When asked on Saturday, a day after the Bulls were eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Celtics (a game in which Wade was 1-of-10 shooting and -27), whether he planned to return to Chicago or test the free agent market again this summer, Wade only said that he wanted to get a sense of what the Bulls were going to do this summer before he decided. Here are some Tweets from the Wade interview from Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com and K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.

Wade wants a clear plan and direction from Bulls management? That’s a long line. Like the line at an Apple Store the day the new iPhone comes out length. Wade is way at the back of it.

If the Bulls rebuild, they will trade Butler, if not they will run it back with Wade, Butler, and likely Rondo. Obviously, if they do keep this core together a lot of pieces around them need to change and start to fit some kind of cohesive system.

Wade also defended coach Fred Hoiberg in the wake of “fire Hoiberg” chants from Bulls fans at the end of the game.

This is the one wish Wade will get, after firing Tom Thibodeau and hand-picking Hoiberg out of the college ranks, no way GarPax is going to fire him this summer and admit its mistake.

Everything else with Wade is up in the air.

Cavaliers, Warriors sweeps mean time to rest, get mental breather

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant can take some pressure off that tender left calf. LeBron James has extra time to recoup after barely leaving the floor in the first round.

Golden State coach Steve Kerr scheduled some medical appointments as he deals with debilitating symptoms still affecting him nearly two years after complications from a pair of back surgeries.

The two star-studded teams expected by many to face off once more in the NBA Finals each swept through their respective first-round playoff series in four games, leaving ample time for the Cavaliers and Warriors to rest up, heal up and prepare for the next opponent.

“It gives me a mental break. As far as physically, I am who I am,” James said. “I’ve played so many games over the years, the best break for me is probably when I’m done.”

Of course guys like James and Draymond Green are already eager to get back on the court.

Cleveland now knows its next opponent is Toronto, while the Warriors were still waiting out the Clippers-Jazz series.

“Definitely have gotten antsy to play,” Green said Friday. “But you see that break and you’re excited about it, just to get that time to rest and get everybody back as close to 100 (percent) as possible for the next round. At the same time you do get antsy to get back on the floor and back in the rhythm of things. I think it’s been a good week for us to sweep and get this time off.”

Durant, still receiving treatment on his left leg and knee, spent Thursday at a San Francisco Giants baseball game. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue threw a huge watch party Thursday night so players and members of the organization could see the Raptors close out the Bucks in six games.

Golden State scrimmaged Friday to stay sharp, while Cleveland players have competed in such ways as racing on cardiovascular machines in the weight room to stay fresh and motivated.

James led the league in minutes during the regular season then played nearly 44 per game in the first-round sweep of Indiana – familiar territory after the Cavs also swept Detroit in the first round last season, then followed by eliminating Atlanta in the minimum four games.

“I’m ready to get this thing going, but obviously I’m not going to rush the process,” James said. “… But, yeah, I don’t like the way I feel when we’re not playing.”

In 2015, when the Warriors captured their first championship in 40 years, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving suffered a freak Game 1 injury when he fractured his left kneecap, and Kevin Love was already lost to a dislocated left shoulder.

Last June, Stephen Curry had returned from a knee injury but never fully got healthy and the thought was the Warriors wore down after chasing and breaking the Chicago Bulls’ regular-season wins record with 73 victories.

“If you could sweep every series that would be perfect,” Durant said, “because you just want to play well and then you’ll worry about the rest afterward. That’s the situation we’re in. We’ve got a lot of guys banged up, so it’s good to have a few days to get your bodies right and your mind right and just get back to the drawing board in terms of individual work, team work.”

In the Warriors’ case, it also has meant more time working with Mike Brown as acting head coach while Kerr is away. The reigning NBA Coach of the Year missed Games 3 and 4 at Portland because he was in such discomfort, having dealt with headaches, neck pain and nausea that recently became worse.

While Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is most known for sitting several star players at once without regard to anything but his team’s best interest, others have caught on and replicated the strategy of spelling players in order to pace for the long haul.

In March 2015, the Warriors lost at Denver with Curry watching – along with Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut – in the first game of a back-to-back. Oh, did Kerr take heat for it, even personally answering a few emails. And the Warriors reached out to other upset fans and sent along care packages.

“As a coach your responsibility is to keep your players healthy and there are times when guys need a night off,” Kerr said.

In December, Cleveland caused an uproar by resting James, Love and Irving in a loss at Memphis. Lue then sat several starters for the final game of the regular season against Toronto, and the teams will meet again in the Eastern Conference semifinals starting Monday.

Now, the Cleveland coach insists, James can handle the heavy minutes when it matters most.

“His body can take it,” Lue said, “so I’m not worried about what outside people say.”

AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.

 

Chris Paul told Paul Pierce: “You’re not ending your career in Utah”

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When the Clippers lose their final game this season — maybe Sunday, maybe not for weeks — the Hall of Fame career of Paul Pierce will come to an end.

It’s not why Doc Rivers was leaning so heavily on Pierce Friday night, that’s more desperation on a shorthanded (and not that deep to start with) lineup. The Clippers got away with 20+ minutes of Pierce on Friday and still got the win.

He even served as an inspiration for Chris Paul, as CP3 said in his postgame press conference.

The best part of that video? DeAndre Jordan‘s reaction.

You can be sure Utah Jazz fans will take this comment as a slight and let CP3 hear about it next season. As for the Jazz players, they are heading into Game 7, how much more motivation do they need.