Report: Joel Embiid’s agent pushing for No. 1 pick, Celtics or Lakers

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Joel Embiid, in light of his foot injury, will likely no longer go No. 1 in the draft.

How far will he slip?

Once Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker go off the board – probably with the first two picks – Embiid might still be the best prospect available. The rebuilding 76ers could easily draft Embiid at No. 3 and give him plenty of time to recover while losing a lot of games next season in pursuit of another high lottery pick.

But if Embiid’s agent, Arn Tellem, gets his way, Embiid would fall further.

Bill Simmons of Grantland:

https://twitter.com/BillSimmons/status/479651015226974208

Tellem can try to steer Embiid past the Bucks (No. 2), 76ers (No. 3), Magic (No. 4) and Jazz (No. 5), but those teams can obviously take Embiid without the player’s consent.

Unless he’s willing play overseas in perpetuity or not play professionally anywhere for a year – sitting out injured while getting paid counts as “playing” for these purposes – Embiid has no leverage other than to threaten to do those things.

Unlike Marcus Smart, Embiid can’t skip workouts to dissuade teams. He’s too hurt to work out anywhere.

But Embiid has a major trump card – his medical reports. He doesn’t need to share that information with anyone, and it would be extremely risky to draft him without reviewing those records.

Tellem knows how much falling would cost Embiid, but the agent also realize the potential second-contract benefits of playing for a team that can better develop Embiid.

Maybe Embiid can get the best of both worlds.

Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

a source tells CSNNE.com that the Celtics will give some serious thought to potentially moving up in the draft to select him.

If the Celtics get Embiid’s medical records and then try to trade up for him, that would signal to any potential trade partner that Embiid checks out. Maybe that team – whether it’s the Bucks, 76ers, Magic or Jazz – doesn’t trust Boston, or maybe it uses that implicit knowledge sharing to justify drafting Embiid itself.

At this point, it’s a game of cat and mouse.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.