2014 NBA Draft Lottery

Should Cavaliers trade No. 1 pick to Sixers for No. 3 pick, Thaddeus Young?

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Teams with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft just don’t trade it. With good reason. Those picks tend to be too valuable in a league where you need franchise changing guys and All-Stars to win, you can’t pass up the potential to draft one.

However this year the rumors are out there.

Chad Ford of ESPN started it (he starts a lot of rumors) and others have reported there have been at least some talks about the Sixers packaging the No. 3 pick and Thaddeus Young for the No. 1 pick — the Sixers want to make sure they get Andrew Wiggins that badly. How far down that road talks have gone is up for debate, but it has been discussed.

The Cavaliers have a lot of options, but should they really trade the No. 1 pick? Should the Sixers do it when a lot of mock drafts have Wiggins falling to them at No. 3 anyway?

For the Cavaliers, the answer to the above question is tied to the answer of another question: Do you think Joel Embiid or Andrew Wiggins can be a transcendent player?

If the Cavaliers believe that Embiid — the Kansas center said by many to be on top of the Cavs draft board — is a future top 10 NBA player who, along with Kyrie Irving, can be the foundation of a team that wins championships, then you keep the pick and take him. Talent wins in the NBA and you need those top 10 guys to get a title. You don’t trade them unless your hand is forced (see Minnesota with Kevin Love). The same is true if the Cavaliers grade Wiggins (or Jabari Parker) out that way.

However, if the Cavaliers believe that those three guys are close together and will all be good but not top 10 players, then I’d make the move because if you want to make the playoffs next season, Young is a good guy to have on your roster. The Cavs would still have the No. 3 pick and get a quality player.

The Sixers are clearly very high on Wiggins, which makes sense because putting the freak athlete on a team that wants to play ultra fast is a good marriage of player and system. But should they give up Young just to make sure they get Wiggins? Again, are they that sold he can be transcendent?

Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com doesn’t think the trade is the best move for the Sixers and GM Sam Hinkie.

…to me that the talent between the three players is marginally equal, and to give up another asset to pick at No. 1 is overpaying for the selection….

For my money, it’s entirely possible that Wiggins slips to No. 3 overall, where the Sixers will make their first selection of the 2014 draft — barring a trade to move up or down.

I would much rather see the Sixers keep the third pick and then package their 10th pick, along with one of their five second-round selections, to move up to eighth and take the shooter they like best in this draft. Imagine if the Sixers’ starting five looked like this next fall: Michael Carter-Williams at point guard, Michigan’s Nik Stauskas — who shot 44 percent from three-point range last year — at two-guard, Wiggins at small forward, Thaddeus Young as a hybrid four and Nerlens Noel protecting the rim.

That would be a fun young core, certainly a group that would struggle at times but be entertaining to watch. There would be hope in Philly.

In a lot of current mocks, Wiggins does slip to three. However, if Hinkie and the Sixers believe Wiggins is going to be a transcendent star, then giving up assets to get him is the right play. It just depends on how you grade him out.

In the end, I just can’t see the Cavaliers moving the pick, this time they seem assured to get somebody who can help them in that slot. You just don’t trade No. 1 picks in the NBA.

Russell Westbrook’s no-look, two-hand, behind-his-head pass ignites Thunder break

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Russell Westbrook was just himself — hustling, attacking, and getting his fifth triple-double in a row Sunday night against the Pelicans.

But the play of the night didn’t get him any points or an assist. It was Westbrook hustling, getting to the floor to get a loose ball, then making the showtime pass to start a Globetrotters-like fast break that ended with an Andre Roberson dunk.

Westbrook had an impressive dunk of his own.

NBA VP Kiki VanDeWeghe on “unnaturual acts:” “Our rules are for every player”

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The NBA has tried to crack down on “unnatural acts” — players flailing body parts trying to draw a foul call.

At the heart of that is Golden State’s Draymond Green, who picked up a flagrant foul for the unnatural act of getting his leg high enough to kick James Harden in the face Thursday night. Green fired back at the league, saying in part, “It’s funny how you can tell me how I get hit and how my body is supposed to react. I didn’t know the league office was that smart when it came to body movements.” Green’s argument is that he was fouled in the air and the high leg was the natural act of him trying to keep his balance. (Doesn’t matter, it’s a reckless act and if you kick someone in the face you should get a flagrant foul. Also, try explaining the kick on Marquese Chriss on Saturday that way.)

Former All-Star NBA player as well as coach Kiki VanDeWeghe is now an NBA vice president and the guy who is the decision maker on these reviews and fouls. He spoke with Sam Amick of the USA Today about how those unnatural act rules are applied.

“Our rules are for every player,” VanDeWeghe told USA TODAY Sports. “We want each play judged according to the rules, as best possible, and the rules applied fairly across our whole league. That’s very important to us. We don’t make exceptions for players. They are applied to everybody.

“In Draymond’s particular case (against the Houston Rockets on Thursday), he had an arm flail which struck the player (James Harden) in the neck-head area. And then in addition to that, he had a kick up above the head of the defender. As he brought his leg down, his heel hit him in the face. It wouldn’t matter what player we’re talking about (it’s a foul)….

“Most of these are done to draw the attention of the referees. We noticed an uptick in these last year, and they needed to be addressed by the competition committee.”

While Green feels singled out — “marked” is what he tweeted — VanDeWeghe noted that competition committee included owners, coaches, GMs, people from the players union, and a lot of people with playing experience, who all sat down as a group and studied what is and is not an “unnatural act.” As Amick noted, it isn’t just Green who gets hit with these penalties, although he gets the headlines: Boston’s Marcus Smart was given a Flagrant One for his kick to the groin of the Miami’s Hassan Whiteside; Thursday LeBron James was given a technical foul for his blow to the head of the Clippers’ Alan Anderson.

So long as Green continues to make these acts — and the kick to Chriss Saturday suggests they are not slowing down — the crackdown will continue.

Watch Raptors PG Kyle Lowry throw a full-court alley oop to Pascal Siakam

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Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry is having an excellent year for the Eastern Conference Finals hopefuls, and part of that is due to his vision. On Saturday, Lowry threw a full-court lob to Pascal Siakam that was mighty impressive.

After a missed shot in the middle of the third quarter by the Atlanta Hawks, Lowry gathered the rebound on the left block and quickly turned his eyes downcourt.

Siakam, the No. 27 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, was streaking toward the Raptors basket and behind the Hawks defense.

Lowry took advantage with a long-distance heave after one dribble at the free-throw line, and Pascal was able to gather and softly lay the ball up at the rim.

Warriors F Draymond Green kicks Marquese Chriss in the hand (VIDEO)

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Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was not punished with an additional fine for kicking Houston Rockets G James Harden in the face on Dec. 1. Perhaps that emboldened him to kick another opponent just two days later in Phoenix Suns rookie Marquese Chriss.

While attempting a rip through move on Chriss in the third quarter of Saturday night’s game, Green could be seen kicking Chriss in the hand.

Chriss, in some obvious pain, immediately ran over to the bench and was replaced by Jared Dudley.

Meanwhile, Green didn’t even draw a foul. On the other end of the floor, P.J. Tucker was trying to fight through a screen and was called for both a personal foul and a technical foul after arguing.

It seems that there’s not much stopping Green from trying to damage opponents. He infamously missed Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals due to his extracurricular activity, his absence perhaps acting as the catalyst to swing a series in which the Warriors blew a 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There was no fine for kicking the league’s best MVP candidate in Harden, and no reaction from officials for kicking Chriss.

This came just a day after Green complained about how the league was treating him and how he should control his body.

In the last six months, Green has hit or kicked Harden, Chriss, Kyrie Irving, Allen Crabbe, and Steven Adams (twice).