Duke’s Jabari Parker says he will enter NBA Draft

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This was expected, even after Duke’s early and unceremonious exit from the NCAA Tournament and despite all the rumors to the contrary.

Duke’s Jabari Parker will declare for the NBA draft, he said in an article he wrote for Sports Illustrated.

Ultimately, I boiled my decision down to two simple questions:

Which environment — college or the NBA — offers me the best opportunity to grow as a basketball player?

Which environment — college or the NBA — offers me the best opportunity to grow and develop off the court?

The answer to both questions is undeniably the NBA.

He also writes that the other key factor was that another year in college shrinks his earning potential as a professional. For the guys at the top of the draft this is key — they are very likely to get big second contracts (and beyond) and if they get to them a year earlier they can earn more over the course of their career.

Parker spends the first part of the article talking about all the reasons it was hard for him to leave Duke, and he said he plans to graduate from the school while in the NBA.

Lately I haven’t slept much. Although my dream is to play in the NBA, I’ve gotten pretty attached to life at Duke and I don’t want to utter the word goodbye.

This is the right move for Parker, for the reasons he outlined above. It’s a business for him now.

Parker, 6’8” and can plan the three or four in the NBA, is likely a top three pick. He’s as high as No. 1 on some scout’s boards and there is no way he falls past No. 4. Most teams seem to have the Kansas duo of Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins higher, but we’ll see how the lottery shakes out the draft order before making predictions.

He’s also the freshman best poised to make an impact as a rookie — his offensive game is NBA ready and he can put up points in the league, PBT’s draft expert Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com and Rotoworld said.

“A highly skilled scorer for a freshman. He is comfortable in the post and on the perimeter, can attack of the dribble, and can the run the floor as well as most guards,” Isaacson told PBT. “As good as he is on offense, his defensive lapses can be that bad. Needs to learn a lot of the defensive basics, but still finds a way to be a good rebounder.”

We saw those defensive lapses when Duke lost to Mercer in the first round and Mike Krzyzewski had to bench Parker to get defense on the court.

But teams think they can work on and improve his defense. You can’t teach what he does on offense.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.