Paul George, Drew Gooden

Wizards reportedly to sign Drew Gooden

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Since acquiring Nene two years ago, the Washington Wizards have gone 60-61 when he plays and 8-34 when he doesn’t. In their scheme, he’s a steadying force on both ends of the floor, practically essential to their success.

Needless to say, with Nene out four to six weeks, the Wizards will almost assuredly use their open roster spot on a big man. They can’t just skate by on what they have.

Most likely, it seems that big man will be Drew Gooden. Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

NBA free-agent forward-center Drew Gooden is expected to sign a 10-day contract with the Washington Wizards following the loss of Nene, sources told Yahoo Sports.

J. Michael of CSN Washington confirmed Gooden is the most likely free agent the Wizards will sign, but Michael also says Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin will be more instrumental in replacing Nene. Booker started when Nene missed games earlier this season, but Seraphin played every meaningful minute after Nene got hurt in the third quarter of Washington’s win over the Cavaliers on Sunday, and Booker played none of them.

Michael:

Seraphin can produce the offense lost without Nene, who averaged 14.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, but where the Wizards tend to suffer without him is their basketball IQ as they like to play through the Brazilian in the low post.

Booker can provide better defense and make the hustle plays, such as drawing charges, but he is undersized. Wittman likely will have to mix and match his lineups and hopefully find the personnel that works best.

With Washington’s other starters – John Wall, Bradley Beal, Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gorat – the lineup has meshed with Nene, underwhelmed with Booker and excelled with Seraphin (albeit in extremely limited minutes).

Nene (37 games 482 minutes):

  • Offensive rating: 106.4
  • Defensive rating: 95.7
  • Net rating: +10.7

Booker (25 games, 242 minutes):

  • Offensive rating: 101.9
  • Defensive rating: 105.4
  • Net rating: -3.5

Seraphin (5 games, 18 minutes):

    • Offensive rating: 117.0
    • Defensive rating: 52.5
    • Net rating: +64.5

There’s no clear-cut best option for Washington. Gooden provides another chance for someone to click, but he was terrible with the Bucks last season. At 32, he can no longer be counted on.

The Wizards are 28-28, and homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs was definitely within their grasp before Nene’s latest injury. Overtaking the 29-26 Bulls – and holding off all challengers – will be an uphill battle now.

Figuring out when to play Booker and when to play Seraphin will be key for the Wizards down the stretch. If Gooden provides anything, that’s just a bonus.

Really, Washington is treading water until Nene returns – hopefully in time for the playoffs.

Dwyane Wade ‘honored’ to be Prince’s favorite player

Late Night with Seth Meyers - Season 2
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Dwyane Wade says he’s feeling “all kinds of emotions” after hearing that he was Prince’s favorite basketball player.

The Miami Heat star took to Twitter after hearing Prince’s comments in a 2012 Australian radio interview the late pop icon conducted with model Damaris Lewis.

Prince died last month at his Minnesota home at the age of 57.

Referees admit error at end of Thunder/Spurs, will add call to training in future

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It’s hard to describe the final play of the Thunder Game 2 win over the Spurs and the officiating during it for a family-friendly publication such as this. The phrase I want to use starts with “cluster” but that’s as far as I can go.

The officiating crew missed a host of calls during those final 13 seconds, but they have at least owned up to the most egregious one — missing Dion Waiters pushing off Manu Ginobili while the Thunder guard tried to inbound the ball. (Yes, Ginobili’s foot was on the line, but sorry Thunder homers that was not close to the most egregious miss at the end.)

After the game, the lead official Kenny Mauer admitted that error.

Now the NBA referee’s union released this statement:

Did that decide the game? No. We like to focus on things we can blame as going wrong, but the Spurs offense started 2-of-15 shooting on the night, was inconsistent, and they still had a chance at the end. This one play is not why the Spurs lost. Manu Ginobili said it well postgame.

Raptors’ Bismack Biyombo given after-the-fact Flagrant 2 for elbow to Pacers’ Turner, no suspension

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 26:  Bismack Biyombo #8 of the Toronto Raptors celebrates a dunk late in the second half of Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Indiana Pacers during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on April 26, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Bismack Biyombo is going to be key for Toronto in their second round series against Miami. The Raptors will need his rim protection when Goran Dragic and Dwyane Wade start to drive.

Which is why the Raptors are lucky he did not get suspended for this blow from Game 7 vs. the Pacers (watch Biyombo elbow Myles Turner in the face in the middle of the key):

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

At the time there was no call — as bad a miss as anything from the end of the Thunder/Spurs game — but after the fact the NBA has assessed a flagrant 2 foul on Biyombo.

However, no mention of a suspension for this incident alone. The Raptors catch a break there, as Biyombo should have been tossed from the game and/or given a suspension for that elbow. That said, one more flagrant and he does get a suspension.

NBA’s Basketball Without Borders to host first event in Australia

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21:  A general view is seen of the city skyline over Melbourne Park during day three of the 2015 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
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Andrew Bogut. Dante Exum. Matthew Dellavedova. Patty Mills. Joe Ingles. Technically Kyrie Irving (he was born there but plays internationally for the USA).

Australia has brought a fair amount of talent — and scrappy players — to the NBA, and now the NBA is taking one of its outreach programs there.

Yesterday the NBA, FIBA, and Australia’s National Basketball League announced a Basketball without Borders event June 23-26 at Dandenong Basketball Stadium in Melbourne. It’s the first time the community outreach program will come to the island nation of Australia.

“We are pleased to partner with FIBA and the NBL to bring the first Basketball without Borders camp to Australia,” NBA Asia Managing Director Scott Levy said in a statement. “The league has seen a surge of Australian talent in recent years, and we look forward to supporting the next generation by giving them a platform to showcase their skills alongside their peers from throughout the region.”

These events bring in youth basketball players and work with them, both giving young players highest quality instruction and raising the profile of the sport in the nation with a little star power. Basketball Without Borders will celebrate 15 years this summer and has been all over the globe with similar events.

Now they can check Australia off the list.