Florida v UConn

Top five guys passed over in the NBA Draft


It’s the economics of the NBA: teams in the second round draft European players they can stash overseas, saving the roster spot and money and giving them a trade chip. Sometimes those guys develop and come over, a lot of times they do not.

In picking those guys, good players looking for chance in the NBA get passed over.

Here is PBT’s top five guys left undrafted. Each hopefully gets a shot through Summer League and training camps (nearly 20 percent of the guys in the NBA went undrafted, there is hope).

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• Patric Young, 6’9” power forward/center, Florida. He was very highly recruited coming out of high school, and without a doubt he passes the eye test, he looks like a powerful NBA inside player. Of course, Kwame Brown passes the eye test, too. Young has an inconsistent offensive game, mostly based around post up play, but he’s athletic and can run and finish in transition. He has the tools to be a great defender, but needs works. He has the tools to make an NBA GM look good and stick in the league for a long time, the question may be mental but he deserved the chance he can get it together.

• Jabari Brown, 6’4” shooting guard, Missouri. He can flat out score — he can shoot the three (41 percent this past season), can put the ball on the floor, knows how to finish in transition, and he does it all efficiently (64 percent true shooting percentage last season). The issue at the next level is defense (and passing, but mostly defense), if he doesn’t learn to do it better he’ll have trouble staying on the court. But if you can score you should get a look at least.

• Deonte Burton, 6’1” point guard, Nevada. He’s small, quick, gets into the paint with a fantastic first step and can finish or find teammates. He knows how to score in the pick-and-roll or isolation, plus he knows how to run a team in transition. He had to carry a lot at Nevada and with that there were some questions about his ability to read the court and make the right play. How does he play surrounded by much better talent? Some team needs to give him a chance so we can find out.

• Khem Birch, 6’9” power forward, UNLV. He’s long (7’0” wing span), athletic and he uses that well on the defensive end of the court, which is why a team could use him. He can block shots and is a guy who gets hustle points and buckets by being scrappy. He’s not polished on the offensive end, his footwork is unimpressive and he doesn’t have much shooting range. But teams could use guys off the bench who just hustle and scrap.

• Jahil Carson, 5’11” point guard, Arizona State. Lightning quick and that made him one of the most entertaining players in college basketball the past few years. He can get to the rim in the halfcourt and he can be a one-man fast break. He’d be a fan favorite. He’s small and slight and that’s a concern in the NBA, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. The other question is his ability to lead an offense and create for others not just himself. His passing skills can be inconsistent. Still, in a league where you can’t touch a guy on the perimeter a point guard with speed has value.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.

PBT Extra bold prediction preview: Markieff Morris will be a happy Sun

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After a bumpy season where the he fought with Suns coaches, then a summer where he and his twin Marcus felt they were blindsided by a trade, Markieff Morris has been plenty vocal about his unhappiness in Phoenix. To the point it has cost him some serious cash.

So what should we expect from Markieff Morris’ upcoming season?

Relative calm, I tell Jenna Corrado of NBCSports in this latest edition of PBT Extra previewing the NBA season.

The reasons are twofold. First, he has to realize the Suns aren’t trading him anyway (especially not while he publicly demands a trade, lowering his trade value). Second, can you imagine how new locker room leader Tyson Chandler is going to react to that? Chandler was brought in to fill a leadership void in the locker room, and you can bet he will make his displeasure at such team-disrupting antics known.

Still not sure if that’s enough to get the Suns to the playoffs.