Report: Clemson’s K.J. McDaniels to declare for NBA draft

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The NCAA’s draft-declaration deadline was April 16, but that mostly meaningless date serves only to limit players’ ability to gain information about their futures.

Players can declare for the draft until the NBA early entry deadline of April 27. In doing so, they’d lose their college eligibility, but if they’re going pro, that doesn’t matter anyway.

So, we’re not done with players entering the draft.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

Clemson junior K.J. McDaniels plans to announce this week that he is entering the 2014 NBA draft, a source told Yahoo Sports.

McDaniels, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound small forward, is likely to be picked in the first round (DraftExpress has him No. 20), though it is possible he could slip. He averaged averaged 17.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.2 steals per game and won Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year last season.

He’s one of the favorites in this draft of PBT’s draft expert Ed Isaacson of NBADraftBlog.com and Rotoworld. McDaniels may be the best wing athlete in this draft not named Wiggins, Isaacson told PBT, yet he was a bit of an unknown coming out of high school. He’s not anymore as he has shown huge improvements in his game between his freshman and junior years — with a lot more room to improve, Isaacson adds.

His athleticism helps him contribute offensively and he can get to the rim with the best of them, even if his jumper hasn’t yet developed and needs to be more consistent. He shot just 30.4 percent on 3-points last year, but considering he took only 25 3s as a freshman (making just seven), that’s progress. A bigger indication of progress: McDaniels made 84.2 percent of his free throws after shooting 57.9 and 68.4 percent from the line his first two seasons.

At minimum, McDaniels should be a capable NBA defender and maybe more — he’s a great shot blocker for a guy 6’6″. With quality teams in the late first round looking for role players, he might make sense.

This seems like a smart time for McDaniels to turn pro. He’s already 21. Had he stayed in school another year, scouts would have been declaring him too old – at least more than they have already.

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.

John Wall wears cape to postgame press conference (video)

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John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.

Did you see Isaiah Thomas carry in Game 5? ‘No,’ says Fred Hoiberg, who walks off (video)

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Fred Hoiberg opened himself to clowning by complaining about Isaiah Thomas carrying.

So, the Bulls coach got clowned after the Celtics’ Game 5 win.

Jae Crowder leg-locks Robin Lopez (video)

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Late in the Celtics’ Game 5 win over the Bulls last night, Jae Crowder leg-locked Robin Lopez – the same dirty play that caused rancor for Matthew Dellavedova in the 2015 playoffs.

Lopez blocked Crowder’s shot, but the ball went to Al Horford, who attacked the basket. As Lopez tried to rotate to contest another shot, he couldn’t move. Crowder, who’d fallen to the floor, had him in a leg-lock. Lopez freed himself just in time to foul Horford.

Adding insult to avoided injury, Lopez got hit with a technical foul for complaining about the no-call.

I bet the league issues a technical foul on Crowder, too.