Philadelphia is one of several that are going bad to get good. Call it the Oklahoma City method, call it tanking, call it “winless for Wiggins,” call it whatever you like — the fact is this is one of the deepest drafts in a decade next summer and teams will be finding ways to lose games and increase their lottery odds. Philadelphia made a smart call, not wanting to be a stagnant .500 team with Jrue Holiday, so they traded him to New Orleans for the potential of Nerlens Noel, who will miss at least a chunk of the season as he recovers from knee surgery. Philly has stockpiled picks and young players, but that will mean losses this season. And a high lottery pick. How does David Stern feel about this? Not thrilled he said at the Beyond Sports Summit last week when asked about Philly and the “winless for Wiggins” movement (as reported at Liberty Ballers and Philly.com).
“That is so… small,” said Stern. “I hope they have a great season and don’t have the chance for the No. 1 pick.”
That’s the right thing to say. And Stern is right that even if you have the worst record in the league you have a 25 percent chance at the top pick — and 75 percent chance you don’t. Teams that have tanked in the past haven’t seen it work (Boston in 2007, for example). But in a draft with multiple potential franchise players, teams will take their chances.
The second half of this season tanking and what (if anything) the league should do about it will become a topic — one that will fall on Commissioner-in-waiting Adam Silver’s lap when he takes over Feb. 1. You’re going to hear a lot more about it. And saying it is small is not going to be enough for some fans, the problem is the answers are not simple nor is there a perfect solution. Have fun in the commissioner’s chair, Adam.
DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings
The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.
So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?
“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”
“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”
“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”
Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.
And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.
Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?
LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)
NEW YORK (AP) — Derrick Rose is missing the New York Knicks’ game against Cleveland because of lower back pain.
Rose left the Knicks’ victory over Miami on Tuesday in the third quarter with back spasms. Coach Jeff Hornacek says Rose still felt sore on Wednesday when he came in and met with team doctors, so they sent him for an MRI exam to make sure there was no structural damage.
Rose is averaging 16.7 points and this is the first game he’s missed this season.