Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim says Wiggins, Parker, others not worth tanking for

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Yes, but what would Jim Boeheim have said if he was successful at recruiting Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker?

There’s plenty of talk about teams tanking this season for the chance to draft Wiggins, Parker, Julius Randle, Joel Embiid and the other elite players expected in the upcoming draft. You need franchise changing players to win in the NBA and if you’re a mid-to-small market NBA team the draft is how you need to get those kinds of players. In short, Milwaukee is doing the right thing.

But legendary Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim doesn’t see it that way and said so to Zagsblog on SNY.TV.

“There’s no player that’s out there on the horizon that’s a Tim Duncan or a LeBron James,” the Hall of Fame Syracuse coach told SNY.tv by phone Thursday.]

“I’ve seen all these guys play. I think they’re very talented players. They’re not that kind of player. They’re not transcendent players that are gonna make your franchise into a 10-12-15-year winning franchise because you’re there. I don’t see that.”

Did he feel that Paul George was going to be one? Boeheim is a guy that certainly knows the game and has impeccable credentials, let’s just say that most scouts (not all, but a strong majority) disagree with Boeheim here.

This class of freshmen also brings up the one-and-done rule debate again (one the NBA tabled in the last collective bargaining agreement negotiations then never picked up) and the relationship between the NBA and it’s free farm system.

If I were an NBA coach like Boeheim I’d hate one-and-done, too — the longer you can keep your elite talent around, the better for your program. Know that NBA owners would love to help out college coaches there and make it two-and-done because they think the more time to scout guys the fewer mistakes they make and the lower their risk (history has shown that not to be true, there were busts long before high school kids could commit).

Nobody is fond of the current system; it’s the ultimate compromise where nobody feels they really won. And because of that we may be stuck with it for a while.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.

Isaiah Thomas: ‘Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here’

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.

His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.

Kyrie Irving knocks flamingo from Pacers fan’s hands (video)

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Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.

He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

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James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.