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.”
Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.
This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.
Here was his January try:
As Rockets general manager Daryl Morey once noted, cherry-picking James Harden‘s worst defensive plays to create a video is unfair. Many players would look awful by that measure.
But Harden provides serious ammo for these worst-of videos.
This non-attempt to stop Lance Thomas is just brutal.
At least Houston buckled down to beat the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. The Rockets have climbed to 26th in points allowed per possession.
So, Kobe Bryant‘s NBA career is officially going to come to an end after the 2015-16 season. That part he announced on Sunday.
What’s still up in the air is Bryant’s participation in one last Olympics. Bryant has been in consideration to make Team USA this summer at the games in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that he hasn’t ruled that out yet:
Kobe was asked about this at his post-game press conference Sunday and said it was not a goal, but if it was offered he’d consider it.
“I’d be honored if that was there, it would be fantastic to be around that group and spend kind of the last journey with them,” Bryant said. “That being said, it’s not something that I’m obsessing over.”
‘When Bryant made it known that he wanted to play in Rio, he made it clear to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that he wanted to earn a spot, not be given one as a lifetime achievement award. Watching him so far this season, it’s almost impossible to imagine him making the roster on merit.
But nobody should begrudge him if he wanted to extend the farewell tour just a little bit longer.