Hamidou Diallo may be on his way to being none-and-done first round pick

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Last year, Hamidou Diallo played half a season of college prep basketball at Putnam Science as a postgraduate of high school, then enrolled for the spring semester at Kentucky, but he did not play with the team. In fact, he hasn’t played in a game publicly in four months.

Yet the stock on the 6’6″ swingman — one of the more explosive athletes in the draft, with great physical tools and length — seems to be rising. He put up an impressive 44.5-inch vertical leap at the NBA Draft Combine that turned a few heads.

Some teams like him, others don’t want to take the risk, but he is generally considered a bubble first rounder right now, but in NBC’s mock draft we had him go 23rd to Toronto (GM Masai Ujiri is willing to take these kinds of gambles). Diallo hasn’t officially decided yet if he’s going to stay in the draft, that’s why he was at the combine to let teams talk get a closer look at him, and to get a sense of where he stands.

What is the attraction of this draft’s mystery man? Kentucky Coach John Calipari think he knows, as he told the New York Times.

“They don’t know,” he said. “Well, don’t show them. They all like you without watching you. Good. The more you don’t play, the more they like you, the more they’re impressed.”

“If someone takes him in the lottery I will retire. Four months, doesn’t play, lottery pick, I’m done. I’m stopping,” he said.

Lottery seems high, but if a team falls in love with him and thinks they can develop him… who knows. The Milwaukee Bucks taking Thon Maker at No. 10 last year turned heads (he had gone to a fifth year of high school rather than play college ball), yet by the postseason he was becoming an increasingly important part of their rotation and played well.

If Diallo goes back to college for a year, he could well be a top 10 pick next year, which is part of the attraction for teams drafting late in the first round this year — they might steal a quality player late in the first. ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla put it well to the Times.

“I don’t think there’s any question a team will take him in the first round, based on just his age, his size for a guard and that crazy combination of skill and athleticism.”

The question of whether said team will be able to develop him is another issue, but if he stays in the draft someone will take the chance.

The only question for Diallo is does he want to start his NBA journey now as a lower pick, or spend a season at Kentucky and likely be a much higher pick (that gets paid more out the gate, this past season the No. 10 pick made $1.4 million more than the 25th selection, but start now and he gets to the potentially more lucrative second contract sooner).

If he stays in the draft, others might start to follow his and Maker’s path.

 

Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan fined $15,000 for criticizing referees

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The Raptors lost to the Warriors on Saturday, and DeMar DeRozan – despite his own brilliant performance – was irked.

The Toronto guard seemed particularly upset about a review of an out-of-bounds call in the final seconds. After initially giving the ball to the Raptors, officials said it touched DeRozan while he was out of bounds and granted Golden State possession:

The NBA’s replay guidelines say (emphasis mine): “Referees can only initiate a review on a called out-of-bounds play (for example, not one where an out-of-bounds might have occurred) and only those involving doubt as to which player caused the ball to go out (not those, for example, where a player stepped on the line).”

DeRozan

I mean, it’s frustrating being out there feeling like you playing 5-on-8. It’s just what it feel like, period. Some of them calls was terrible, period.

I thought you couldn’t even do that. I’m not even a referee, and I know that rule. So, somebody correct me if I’m wrong.

The NBA corrected him in the two-minute report, saying “After communicating with the Replay Center, the ruling on the floor of Raptors possession is overturned and the Warriors are awarded possession because the ball touches DeRozan’s (TOR) leg while his body is out of bounds before Curry (GSW) knocks the ball out. Referees were able to review two aspects of this out-of-bounds play since they were part of the same sequence.”

Then, the league fined him.

NBA release:

Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan has been fined $15,000 for public criticism of the officiating, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The comments were made following the Raptors’ 127-125 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, Jan. 13

Saying “5-on-8” seems to be a secret code word for getting fined. I’m not sure whether the rest of DeRozan’s comments would have gotten him fined, but that phrase almost certainly did him in.

Kyle Lowry on plan to meet Ben Simmons after ejections: ‘Put it this way, I was back there’

AP Photo/Rich Schultz
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As Kyle Lowry and Ben Simmons were ejected late in the 76ers’ win over the Raptors yesterday, the players appeared to challenge each other to meet in back.

Lowry eagerly left the court and headed through the tunnel. Simmons appeared much more reluctant at that point.

Despite a report of a confrontation in the hallway, Simmons said nothing escalated, as he went to his locker room.

Michael Grange of Sportsnet

TKO.

Warriors complained of no hot water in showers in Cleveland

Michael Hickey/Getty Images
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The Cavaliers are clearly frustrated.

Did someone in Cleveland take out that frustration on the Warriors after they beat the Cavs last night?

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

Players were complaining about there being no hot water in the visiting locker room showers. When they walked in, they could be heard screaming in discomfort. Most of the players emerged shivering from taking a quick wash-off.

“Man, they got to do something in ‘The Q.’ Somebody call Bron!” Kevin Durant yelled, referring to LeBron James.

No one seemed angry; the situation was more humorous.

That’s the right approach. Whenever the hot water is out in a visiting locker room, the finger is pointed at the home team for sabotage. Sometimes, heating systems just fail.

Giannis Antetokounmpo assists fastbreak dunk with football-style long snap (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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Giannis Antetokounmpo is scoring more in the post, the basketball analogue of football’s trenches.

Apparently, he’s taking the comparison to the next level.

In the Bucks’ win over the Wizards yesterday, Antetokounmpo played the part of a long-snapping center to set up Khris Middleton in transition.

NBC Sports Washington: