Arizona v Michigan

2014 NBA Draft Preview: Charlotte Hornets

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Picks: 9, 24, 45

Needs: A starting power forward, better shooting. Starting PF Josh McRoberts opted out, and although Charlotte would probably like to keep him, he’s in line for a raise. Cody Zeller is waiting in the wings, so the Hornets might prefer just to elevate him rather than draft a replacement.

Charlotte made its mark last season defensively, but its offense stagnated at times due to spacing issues. Al Jefferson is an excellent pivot with the craftiness to operate in limited space, but everyone would flow better with another 3-point shooter on the floor.

Trade possibilities: It seems chic to say any team with multiple first rounders will trade one, but why? Teams don’t want too many good, young prospects on cheap contracts? The Hornets could make a trade – their two first-round picks gives them more possibilities – but there’d be nothing wrong with standing pat.

Predictions: No playoff team has drafted this high since 2010, when the Jazz picked Gordon Hayward at No. 9 (receiving the Knicks’ pick via the Suns). Thanks to landing a plush draft pick from the Pistons, Charlotte has real potential to make a major step this offseason.

Doug McDermott gets mentioned enough at No. 9 that I don’t believe it’s coincidence. It seems the Hornets will attempt to fill their shooting needs with their first pick, which means Nik Stauskas could also be a possibility.

With its second first rounder, Charlotte has reportedly promised center Mitch McGary – leaving the possibility the Bobcats draft two Michigan Wolverines (Stauskas and McGary).

Suns’ Markieff Morris, Archie Goodwin get in scuffle on the bench

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Just another magical day in the Valley of the Sun, where clearly Jeff Hornacek was the problem….

During an early timeout in the Suns’ game at Golden State, Markieff Morris tried to explain something to Archie Goodwin, who is seated. This conversation gets heated quickly, and teammates eventually have to step in and separate the two teammates.

The Suns have shopped Morris around as the trade deadline approaches, this isn’t going to help his value.

We should find out more about what happened after the game ends, although I’m sure both sides will play it down as “nothing.”

Kawhi Leonard drains game winner to beat Orlando (VIDEO)

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This is how much Gregg Popovich trusts Kawhi Leonard on offense now: Tie game with 13.3 seconds remaining, and the play design is a 1-4 flat isolation for Leonard. It’s the kind of play teams will call for LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Popovich just called it for Leonard.

And he was rewarded with a game-winning bucket.

Leonard finished with 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 21, and the Spurs head into the All-Star break with a 45-8 record, on pace to win 70 games this season. And that still would only get them a two seed.

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers shoulder dislocation, leaves game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had been back just six games after suffering a torn labrum in the preseason that required surgery. The Hornets had won four of those six, were playing improved defense, and looked like a potential playoff team in the East.

Now this.

He went straight to the locker room and did not return to the game (the Pacers got the win).

You can see the injury above. In a scramble for a loose ball, the Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi falls on MKG’s arm, dislocating his shoulder.

We don’t know the severity of all this and if MKG is going to miss time beyond this game. But it isn’t good.

Wife of former Pelicans coach Monty Williams dies in car accident

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 12:  Ingrid Williams, wife of New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams and other member of the Pelicans organization feed the homeless on December 12, 2013 at the New Orleans Mission in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
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There are no words to describe how sad this is.

Ingrid Williams, the wife of Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach and former New Orleans Pelicans head coach, Monty Williams, died Wednesday at the age of 44 from injuries suffered in a car accident the day before.

Williams’ car was hit head-on by another vehicle that had crossed over the center divider, according to the Oklahoman.

The Monty and Ingrid had been married more than 20 years and have five children, ranging in age from 17 to 5. Williams is one of the better respected and personally liked coaches around the league, and the tributes have just started to pour in.

Our thoughts are with Williams and his family.