Nerlens Noel

Wednesday And-1 Links: Nerlens Noel thinks raising age limit not “the worst idea”


Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• In general players oppose Commissioner Adam Silver’s goal of raising of the NBA age limit — not that they will stop the league from doing it, so long as the players union gets something in return. It’s always a negotiation.

Nerlens Noel, who left Kentucky as a one-and-done, had an interesting take on the age limit — it’s a good idea, just not for me. Here is what he said over the weekend on ESPN Radio 97.3 in South New Jersey, when on with Matt Hammond:

“I don’t think it’s the worst idea. But the one year of college was definitely the best thing for me… I think it’s a good idea but then again the one year was enough for me and the other guys making the move and being successful with it. But Adam Silver is a great commissioner and he’s doing what’s in the best interest of the next generation.”

• All the reports that come out of Minnesota say that the Timberwolves are not that eager to trade Kevin Love, not in a rushed fashion. It’s the leaks from agents and other interested teams that are the big fuel for this trade conversation right now.

• If you read one thing today, it should be this Seattle Times look at how far Robert Swift has fallen.

• Dwyane Wade said again that if LeBron James bolts Miami this summer not to blame him.

• Not that you asked, but I really don’t think LeBron is leaving Miami this summer. Right now, he is in legacy building mode, he needs rings. At the end of the day, who is he going to trust to build or maintain a contender around him more than Pat Riley, who is trying to recruit young men with money to live in Miami (in a state with no sales tax)? Would you trust Dan Gilbert to succeed at this more than you would Riley? James Dolan? LeBron knows where his best chance of winning remains.

• Great look at Grantland at the history of NBA posters.

• If you are looking for a good breakdown of Donald Sterling’s legal arguments, here you go.

• Nene is pushing for the Wizards to re-sign Marcin Gortat. They’d like to, but the price may be more steep than they are interested in.

• Lineup changes for the Spurs in Game 5? Don’t be shocked to see more Corey Joseph, he earned it.

Great post at Nets Daily on the “arms race” of teams building practice facilities. Everyone is upgrading, like college football facilities it’s part of the recruiting process (for the NBA it’s recruiting free agents).

• If you want to buy this go ahead, I’m not sure I do — Kyrie Irving is going to sign a max, five-year deal if it’s put in front of him.

• Tornike Shengelia, who was released by the Bulls in April, has signed a three-year deal to play with Baskonia of Spain.

Kristaps Porzingis grew up a Kobe fan. Still is one.


When you hear player comparisons for Knicks rookie, the most common is Dirk Nowitzki — a European big with ridiculous shooting range and potential to embarrass anyone.

So did he grow up idolizing Dirk? Not so much.

Rather, like many of his generation, he grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant, he told Mike Francesa of WFAN.

“My favorite player growing up was Kobe. The Lakers were my team and I still love him.”

There is an entire generation of NBA players — and just fans — who would say the same thing.

In the interview, Porzingis laments his missed shots and turnovers, he thinks he can be a lot better. That is exactly what you want out of a rookie. It’s a huge adjustment playing at the NBA level, the speed of the game and IQ is a leap from Europe (or college). Recognizing the challenge is part of it.

There’s a lot to like in Porzingis. He could be special (we don’t know yet, we see only the potential). But idolizing Kobe — and if you understand the work he put in, the passion for the game — can be a good start.

(Hat tip NBA reddit)

Warriors’ interim coach Luke Walton’s car stolen

Luke Walton

If you’re looking for a “when are things going to go wrong for the Warriors” moment, we have one for you. But it may not be what you had hoped for.

Warriors’ interim head coach Luke Walton — the guy on the sidelines for the 15 (soon to be 16) game winning streak — had his car stolen during a crime spree, reports

One of the cars stolen during an Oakland Hills crime spree belongs to Golden State Warriors coach Luke Walton, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said late Monday.

Walton’s Mercedes Benz was stolen Tuesday by two suspects, who police believe are also responsible for a violent attack on a 75-year-old woman outside her home on Thursday. The suspects also took the woman’s car during the attack, according to police.

Yikes. That’s serious.

I’m sure Steve Kerr has like 14 cars, he can loan one to Walton.

Pacers guard George Hill returns Tuesday against Wizards

Paul George, Marcus Morris
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Pacers guard George Hill returned to the lineup Tuesday night against Washington after missing three games with an upper respiratory infection.

Hill is averaging 14 points and just under 37 minutes in 10 games this season. He was on the bench in case of emergency in Saturday’s victory over Milwaukee.

Coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday Hill’s infection had improved “to the point where he’s fine to play,” but would keep an eye out for fatigue after an 11-day layoff.

Hassan Whiteside on intentional fouls: “It’s not working, so keep fouling me”

Hassan Whiteside

Remember how Adam Silver was preaching that the league didn’t want to change the intentional foul rule — the hack-a-Shaq strategy — because it was really about two players (DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard) and a handful of others now and then. The fact that it’s not basketball didn’t matter.

Well, it’s not just two — Miami’s Hassan Whiteside has gotten the treatment this season. He’s a 53.4 percent free throw shooter this season.

And he says bring it on. From Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post:

“I’m enjoying this,” he said. “Foul me so I can get a double-double and we can win. It’s not working, so keep fouling me.”

He’s even smart at not getting fouled.

Whiteside also is liking that teams are looking at their options against the best defense in the NBA — yes, Miami at 94 points allowed per 100 possessions, is the best defense in the NBA right now — and deciding to attack Whiteside.

“There’s teams that’s out there that say ‘Stay away from Hassan,’ and there’s teams that say, ‘We don’t care if Hassan’s down there. Attack Hassan.’ I love them teams that do that. God bless them coaches. I love them teams.”

Whiteside is not as great a defender as the block totals would indicate — if he doesn’t see a block in it, his rotations can be a bit slow. One scout recently called him a selfish defender to me recently, suggesting he is in it for the numbers, not the sacrifices needed for an elite defense. True or not, the Heat have an elite defense and Whiteside is at the heart of it.

And if the strategy is to try to exploit him, Whiteside plans to make people pay.