New Mexico’s Kirk, Tennessee’s Stokes declare for NBA Draft

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Two big men who at best will be grabbed in the second round of the NBA Draft have decided to forgo their senior seasons to enter the NBA Draft.

New Mexico’s Alex Kirk and Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes both declared for the draft on Friday.

Kirk is going to get a long look from NBA teams, said PBT’s draft expert Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com and Rotoworld. The reason is simple — skilled 7-footers are hard to come by. (Even if he’s a 7-footer in the Dwight Howard sense as he measured at 6’9.5” reports DraftExpress.)

Last season Kirk averaged 13.3 points a game shooting 49 percent, he does good work off the game and can knock down midrange jumpers. He’s not built for banging inside with the men of the NBA, but in the right system maybe he can find a spot.

He’s the kind of guy worth a second round gamble in case he develops.

Stokes will be a late second round guy and he comes with an NBA body — 6’9” weighting 260. He can bang inside. He can finish around the rim and runs the floor well, getting out in transition. What he does best is rebound — the one skill set that transitions most smoothly from college to the NBA.

He’s another guy a team may take a gamble on, thinking he could grow into fitting what they do, but Isaacson told PBT he has a lot of work to do on his game to stick at the next level.

Dwyane Wade says Bulls’ showers had no hot water in Boston

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The Bulls suffered a rough loss in Boston last night.

It didn’t get better afterward.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge – who played for Boston in the 80s – pleaded ignorance to any nefarious plumbing:

I think the idea that teams plot to shut off the visitor’s hot water is often overstated. Arenas have complex infrastructure, and things can go wrong on their own. Sometimes, the home team loses hot water, but that never gets remembered.

But reasonable excuses don’t make a cold shower in the moment any more tolerable.

Robin Lopez pushes short floater over backboard (video)

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Robin Lopez had reason to be upset from the Bulls’ Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.

This miss was all on him.

Dwyane Wade plays the laziest defense you’ll ever see (video)

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Dwyane Wade (26 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) was the Bulls’ best player in their Game 5 loss to the Celtics last night.

But the 35-year-old guard clearly didn’t go all out on every possession.

Players can justify not closing out by claiming they were prioritizing rebounding position. Wade clearly has no such excuse.

Video Breakdown: Clippers use JJ Redick in split cut to fool Jazz at 3-point line

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The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.

One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.

We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.

Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.

If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.

For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.