NEW YORK – Shabazz Muhammad was once viewed as a potential No. 1 pick. Midway through his freshman year, not only did that possibility remain, it seemed he had also raised his floor to being a top-five pick.
But Muhammad’s fortunes, both personally and professionally, turned quickly. His 3-point shot betrayed him. His stated age was revealed to be inaccurate. His game was poked apart by scouts. His draft stock sunk. His father was arrested. His draft stock sunk some more.
Muhammad wasn’t even invited to the NBA Draft green room, the latest blow to someone who has been chastised for reasons both fair and unfair.
Through it all, green-room invite or not, Muhammad remained determined to come to the Barclays Center tonight and celebrate being drafted.
“I knew I was going to come here,” Muhammad said. “I figured I was going to be a lottery pick. Just to stay here and end up shaking – especially it was a big-time thing with Mr. Stern and Commissioner Stern, his last time here. That’s really special.”
In the end, Muhammad was right. He was drafted 14th by the Jazz (and traded to the Timberwolves) – not only making the lottery, but jumping ahead of Sergey Karasev, who was invited to the green room – and got his handshake with Stern.
Confirmation he was still a lottery talent? Absolutely.
The last laugh? Not yet.
“At the end of the day, I look at it, it’s what you do in the league,” Muhammad said. “You get drafted, it’s your first step. It’s what you do in the league.”
The Miami Heat took until the final moments on Tuesday night to beat the Detroit Pistons, but it was worth it. With just a handful of games left to play, the Heat need to stave off the Chicago Bulls for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Thanks to a tip at the buzzer by Hassan Whiteside, they’re one step closer to achieving that goal.
The play came with just seconds left in the fourth quarter. James Johnson missed a shot with six seconds to go, and the Heat grabbed the rebound. Goran Dragic then tried his hand, but he couldn’t get it to go, either.
That’s when Whiteside came back with a tip at the buzzer that ended the game.
Miami now sits at 36-38, a game above the Bulls for the No. 8 seed.
Whiteside, meanwhile, is never going to wash that hand again:
Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was a pretty consistent player in the NBA. Save for his final injury-laden seasons and the lockout year of 2011-12, Bryant played in no fewer than 65 regular season games in a single season.
Coaches also had no reason or want to ask Bryant — a notorious worker — to sit out in order to rest. That wasn’t really on the menu, and Bryant knew that.
Speaking to ESPN’s First Take, Bryant said no coach really asked him to ever take a rest, “I’ve never been approached by a coach and asked to rest.”
Bryant remarked that he took queues from Michael Jordan during tough stretches of the season — back-to-backs or four games in five night scenarios — where he could switch his game up, floating from perimeter to post, in order to save energy during those matchups.
Bryant also said during the same interview that he understands the complexity of the modern game, and that players like LeBron James deserve to take a rest if they’ve earned it.
“LeBron has done so much for the game. He’s earned the opportunity to take a rest,” said Bryant.
The debate on this subject will continue, it seems.
New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis is the future of the franchise, so any time he’s upended and nearly lands on his noggin it’s a cause for concern. To say the least.
That’s what happened on Monday night, as Porzingis got turned upside down during a play near the basket during a game against the Detroit Pistons.
Porzingis was OK on the play, and Detroit big man Andre Drummond did his best to help catch him so nothing too scary happened.
Still, Knicks president Phil Jackson had a pretty hilarious reaction to the whole thing. I guess that’s what happens when you watch your basketball life flash before your eyes.
Porzingis was unhurt and played a full 37 minutes. New York beat Detroit, 109-95.
Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler is a smart dude. He’s spent years of offseason work turning himself into a max-level player, and that shows he knows not only how to work but how to attack the game of basketball.
He’s also smart enough to know he shouldn’t go poking the bear when it comes to two future Hall of Fame players in LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
When asked whether the Cleveland Cavaliers star or the Golden State Warriors scorer was the toughest matchup in the NBA, Butler made sure he wasn’t adding any kind of blackboard material to rile up either player.
The best way to defend LeBron or Durant: don’t make them angry.
Smart move, Jimmy.