Picks: 6, 17
Needs: To choose a direction. Rajon Rondo becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2015, and to retain him, the Celtics probably need to improve next season. If they draft an unrefined (or injured) prospect – which could be the prudent move – it might contribute to Rondo leaving. That has to be considered, and Thursday is time for Boston to chart its course, one way or another
Trade possibilities: The Celtics are in the Kevin Love race, and no matter how the Timberwolves posture, that could still get resolved on draft night. Even if it doesn’t, Danny Ainge is a wheeler-and-dealer. Boston has held such a high draft pick just once in the last 18 years – and it was traded for a veteran Ray Allen. That – along with adding Kevin Garnett – led to a championship the next season. It’s human nature for Ainge to try to repeat his own success.
Predictions: If Joel Embiid is on the board at No. 6, I can’t see him sliding past the Celtics. But I think Embiid will be gone and Aaron Gordon will become the pick. There will be good prospects available at No. 17. How about Zach Lavine? Gordon and Lavine would give Boston an incredible amount of upside, though early rough patches might send Rondo out the door. Then again, Lavine and Rondo share an agent, so maybe drafting one of Billy Duffy’s clients could help hold everything together.
NEW YORK (AP) James Harden had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his 12th triple-double of the season and the Houston Rockets easily ended their first losing streak of the season by beating the Brooklyn Nets 137-112 on Sunday night.
Held to 105 points in losses to Minnesota and Memphis, the Rockets bounced back with 104 after three quarters and handed the Nets their 10th straight loss.
Eric Gordon led the Rockets with 24 points and Trevor Ariza added 23. Houston made 21 3-pointers and had five players with at least 16 points.
Houston shot just 40.8 percent during its two losses, well below its 46.8 season average, while being held nearly 10 points below its season scoring average. But the Rockets had no trouble bouncing back against the Nets, who allow an NBA-worst 114.3 per game.
Joel Embiid has fans all around the NBA. Some even came out to see him during the Philadelphia 76ers game against the Washington Wizards on Saturday despite the Cameroonian big man sitting out due to restrictions on playing in back-to-back games.
#BusTheProcess was the hashtag used to get 350 Sixers fans to the game in D.C. thanks to Embiid, coach Brett Brown, and the podcast The Rights to Ricky Sanchez.
Via Twitter and ESPN:
Fun stuff for some dedicated fans, even if they didn’t get to see Embiid play.
Unfortunately for the #BusTheProcess folks, the 76ers wound up losing to the Wizards, 109-93.
Michael Carter-Williams is still shaking the dust off after being inserted into the starting lineup, I guess. At least, that’s about what you can say when you pass the ball off your starting center’s face.
But there’s good news! The Chicago Bulls scored on this play.
Let’s take a look at the whole thing, shall we?
I think the more important question is whether Carter-Williams received a secondary or primary assists on the NBA.com tracking site.
ATLANTA (AP) Kent Bazemore scored 24 points, Mike Dunleavy added 20 and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 111-98 on Sunday.
Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 33 points and was a tough matchup in the paint for Milwaukee, which dropped 2 1/2 games behind the fourth-place Hawks in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta has won eight of nine. The Bucks have dropped three of five.
Dunleavy, in his second game since arriving in a trade last week with Cleveland, had his first 20-point performance since a first-round playoff game for Chicago on April 30, 2015.
Antetokounmpo has scored at least 30 points in eight games in a breakout season.