Shabazz Napier just led Connecticut to the NCAA championship, winning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. Recipients of the award typically rise in the draft, usually to the detriment of their NBA team, but will the effect lift a fringe first-round pick like Napier all the way into the lottery?
If LeBron James were a general manager, yes.
LeBron is making the same mistake many general managers have: getting caught up in the excitement of March Madness. Napier has had a tremendous run, but these last six games shouldn’t supersede his entire body of work.
I rate Dante Exum, Marcus Smart and Tyler Ennis clearly ahead of Napier as NBA prospects. I can’t guarantee Exum, Smart and Ennis would go 3-for-3 in having better NBA careers than Napier, but I’d chance a pick on each of them before Napier without a doubt.
After that, there’s no point guard clearly more valuable than Napier.
Zach LaVine, a very raw 6-foot-5 prospect who left UCLA after his freshman year, will make an interesting comparison. Napier, a 6-foot senior, is much steadier, but he presents lower upside.
There will be at least one team drafting late in the first round that is focused on winning now and could use depth at point guard. That team could make a good landing spot for Napier, and if that happens, I bet it would make LeBron very happy.
Nothing is crazy in the world of sports, especially not traditions where you literally raise your pet cat above your head every time the Philadelphia 76ers win a basketball game. Nope. Not crazy. It’s simply part of #RaiseTheCat, a social media trend that has taken over Sixers Twitter.
It all started when 76ers rookie Ben Simmons shared pictures of his two Savannah cats on Instagram. They are gorgeous, expensive hybrid animals, and you know the Internet loves them a good ol’ cat.
Philadelphia has gone 8-2 over their last 10 games, and one Sixers fan decided to start a social media wave of his own after each W way back near the start of the season.
With the Sixers winning more games, there’s been more photos of cats to go around.
The trend has finally caught on, with other Sixers fans using the hashtag to proclaim their jubilee after the team wins.
And of course, Simmons himself had to finally join in:
I love Basketball Twitter.
(h/t SB Nation)
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) LeBron James says Gregg Popovich taking over as coach of the U.S. Olympic team will be a factor in whether he plays in the 2020 Tokyo Games.
James has won two Olympic gold medals, but he skipped last summer’s Rio de Janeiro Games to get rest after leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to an NBA championship. On Saturday, James said Popovich “factors a lot” in his plans going forward with the U.S. team.
James was asked about Popovich, San Antonio’s longtime coach, before the Cavs hosted the Spurs.
James considers “Pop” the greatest coach in NBA history and called him a “great mastermind of the game of basketball.”
Popovich is replacing Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who led the U.S. team to three consecutive gold medals.
It was rumored this week that the Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves were mulling a trade that would send Ricky Rubio to Michigan and Reggie Jackson to Minnesota. Now, Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy says that isn’t happening.
Nor was it a real offer that was even on the table.
In a video posted to the Detroit Free Press, Van Gundy went off on one of his classic fireside chats — the kind that involves profanity — on how he sees the NBA as it works.
Warning: NSFW language ahead.
While the whole thing is worth watching for the Van Gundyness of it all, here’s the meat you’re looking for:
All these rumors and stuff look I mean know it’s fun for everybody and you’ve got some source somewhere and it’s also all bullshit. Im not denying that discussion — they take place all the time – -that’s a lot different than considerations. Somebody says ‘Hey would you consider Ricky Rubio for Reggie Jackson that discussion might have taken pace. And clearly we didn’t make that move. We wanted to see if they’d go [Michael] Gbinije for LeBron.
Van Gundy said he didn’t know if the specific Jackson-for-Rubio discussion even happened, saying that Pistons president Jeff Bower only brings him trades they are actively considering.
Meanwhile, Van Gundy confirmed that he did text Jackson after his agent made contact with Bower.
“This is the crazy season. We’re not trading you for Ricky Rubio,” said Van Gundy about his text to Jackson.
The NBA league office fined Washington Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe $5,000 — and the team an additional $15,000 — for his role in distracting a New York Knicks shooter during a game this last week.
Now, the league has issued a warning to teams: make sure you’re practicing good bench etiquette, or we’re coming for your wallets.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the NBA sent a memo to all 30 teams on Saturday reminding them to remain on their own bench in accordance with league rules. Obviously that means no stepping onto active basketball courts:
So what are coaches needing to confine themselves to?
Official NBA rules state simply:
The coach’s position may be on or off the bench from the substitution box line (closest to the coach’s bench) to the baseline. A coach is not permitted to cross the midcourt line and violators will be assessed an unsportsmanlike technical foul immediately. All assistants and trainers must remain on the bench. Coaches and trainers are not permitted to go to the scorer’s table, for any reason, except during a dead ball.
Like we see with preseason points of emphasis, it’s possible we see additional fines in the weeks to come. Several coaches enjoy toeing the line (literally) to see what they can get away with and how far out on the court they can stand. Tom Thibodeau immediately springs to mind.
Or, it could go the other direction. Perhaps we see more coaches sitting back, respecting their distance?
Hopefully we just don’t see any more of them trying to close out on opposing shooters.