Report: 76ers ‘trying to do whatever they can to draft’ Andrew Wiggins

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Andrew Wiggins wants to play for the 76ers, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports.

And the 76ers apparently want him.

They’re looking into trading up from their No. 3 pick and bringing Wiggins to Philadelphia.

Just how far would they go to land Wiggins?

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer:

According to sources, the Sixers are trying to do whatever they can to draft him. And there’s a sense that he wants to become a Sixer.

If this is a smokescreen, it’s an elaborate one – and unlikely to help.

The most likely way is the 76ers actually covet Joel Embiid and/or Jabari Parker and are trying to convince the Cavaliers and/or Bucks to draft Wiggins so Philadelphia’s real top choice falls to No. 3. But would the Cavaliers or Bucks really alter their draft boards because the 76ers faux interest tricks them? Most likely, Cleveland and Milwaukee will make its own evaluations.

Maybe Philadelphia actually wants Dante Exum and is trying to prevent another team from trading up to draft the Australian No. 1 or No. 2. But Exum falls outside the consensus top three (Embiid, Wiggins, Parker), and that scenario requires three unlikelihoods: the 76ers wanting Exum more than a consensus top three player, another team wanting Exum more than a consensus top three player, the Cavaliers or Bucks trading down rather than drafting a consensus top three player. Those are too many stretches.

It’s becoming increasingly likely the 76ers just like Wiggins. If that’s the case, they can hope the Cavaliers and Bucks prefer Embiid and Parker, but Philadelphia better keep trying to trade up.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

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NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

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?