UPDATE: Rookie Trey Burke practices, will not play for Jazz Wednesday

5 Comments

UPDATE 4:15 pm: Trey Burke went full speed at Jazz practice on Tuesday but will not make his debut on Wednesday, according to Jonathan Rinehart of the Utah Jazz.

The next games after that are Friday at Dallas and Sunday at Oklahoma City for the Jazz.

12:53 pm: Utah has the worst offense in the NBA, averaging just 92.2 points per 100 possessions,. They have an eFG% (combines two and three pointers) of 44 percent which is second worst in the league and 4.7 percent off the league median, plus the Jazz are turning the ball over on a league high 18.8 percent of their possessions.

The Jazz were counting on rookie Trey Burke to run their offense this season but he has been out with a broken finger. And although one man is not going to solve their offensive issues (at least one man not named LeBron or Durant) getting him back would be a step toward seeing if he is the point guard of the future and how this will all mesh.

Looks like we will find out soon — Burke returns to Jazz practice Tuesday and could make his debut Wednesday, reports Jody Genessy of the Deseret News.

I am one of those high on Burke’s potential at the point (I thought he was the leading Rookie of the Year candidate before he got injured). He’s a polished, aggressive young point guard who is strong on the pick-and-roll (remember Michigan ran an NBA-style offense).

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $80,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Wednesday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $9,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Wednesday. Here’s the link.

It’s going to be an adjustment in the NBA — the players are longer and faster, and while he could finish inside in college it will be a bigger challenge in the NBA. There are also questions about his defense.

But Utah sees him as the potential point guard of the future, to go with Gordon Hayward and a front line of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. We’ll see how all that pans out.

Still, I’m excited to see Burke on the court.

Report: First-round draft prospect says Phil Jackson fell asleep during his workout

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
4 Comments

Like I said, there are better reasons to criticize Phil Jackson than him saying his priority was the Knicks and that he had discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis.

Jay Williams of ESPN:

A top-15 draft pick told me the other day, because we were involved in this out of this conversation about Phil Jackson and the Knicks, and he said, “Phil Jackson was falling in and out of sleep in my workout.”

Yes. “Falling in and out of sleep at my workout.” This is what this guy told me.

Especially given Jackson’s salary and reputation for not being a diligent worker, this story is too good to check out.

O.G. Anunoby invited to NBA draft, Harry Giles declines

AP Photo/Darron Cummings
Leave a comment

The NBA’s invitations to the draft are a good indicator of when players will get drafted. The league samples executives, who are more likely to be honest here than in leaks to the media, about how they rank players. So, the list is worth monitoring.

The players who will attend tonight’s draft nearly match the leaks – with one exception. O.G. Anunoby is going, and Harry Giles isn’t.

Here are the players who will be at the draft – a reasonable placeholder for the players most likely to get picked in the top 20 – via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England:

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress:

Harry Giles declined his invite sources told DraftExpress.

Did Giles decline his invite because, with his extensive injury history, he feared falling too far? Or did he just prefer to watch elsewhere?

Was Anunoby simply 21st on the NBA’s list of players to invite? Or was the league too unsure of his medical status to include him until getting a stronger grasp now?

I don’t know, but the possibility that Giles could slip or Anunoby is more secure alters my perception of their draft stock (Anunoby up, Giles down).

Report: Knicks’ asking price for Kristaps Porzingis ‘massive’

5 Comments

What has Phil Jackson actually done? He discussed trading Kristaps Porzingis with other teams and called the Knicks, not Porzingis, his priority. That’s it.

At face value, this is fine. It’s what devoted executives, not always Jackson, should do.

Jackson hasn’t traded Porzingis for meager return. He hasn’t traded Porzingis at all.

Everyone up in arms should take a deep breath.

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

I wouldn’t rule out the Knicks trading Porzingis. The No. 1 pick got traded, after all. I wouldn’t rule out them trading Porzingis for too little return. Look at Jackson’s track record running the front office.

But wait until they do before bashing Jackson for not understanding Porzingis’ value.

There are plenty of better reasons to criticize Jackson, including overseeing the toxic culture that led to Porzingis skipping his exit interview and setting this latest “crisis” into motion. Publicly discussing trading Porzingis won’t endear Jackson to the budding star, but the problem is how it reached this point. Players in sound organizations can handle this. Jackson has engendered little confidence from his players, the distrust existed well before this round of trade talks.

Lonzo Ball recruits LeBron James to Lakers (video)

5 Comments

Lonzo Ball doesn’t play for the Lakers. LeBron James isn’t a free agent.

But they’re headed that way – and Ball is already embracing it.

The Lakers are expected to draft Ball No. 2 tonight, and rumors are heating up about LeBron leaving the Cavaliers in 2018.

Why should LeBron join Ball in Los Angeles?

Ball on ESPN:

LeBron, I like to win. I know you like to win. I think our games can help each other out a lot. Any time you want the ball, just let me know. It’s going to be there.

Ball was asked to to pitch LeBron, so it’s not as if Ball is out here talking so brashly on his own. But answering the question was a rookie mistake.

Besides, I’m not sure Lonzo Ball can undo the bad blood between LeBron and LaVar Ball.