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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: one-and-done a “travesty” for college hoops

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NEW YORK (AP) — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar likes experienced players, part of the reason he picked San Antonio to knock off Golden State.

And it’s one reason he thinks John Wooden wouldn’t have the same enjoyment or success if he were coaching today. His coach at UCLA would have disliked how the one-and-done era has changed the college basketball game that the Bruins ruled under Wooden.

“He wouldn’t have been able to do it now,” Abdul-Jabbar said Monday in an interview at The Associated Press headquarters. “It’s a totally different circumstance now. Kids aren’t going to college to get an education and play ball. It’s one or the other.”

The NBA’s draft lottery is Tuesday and the team that gets the No. 1 pick will likely use it on a freshman, such as point guards Markelle Fultz or Lonzo Ball. They might become All-Stars but they won’t arrive in the NBA with anywhere near the resume of Abdul-Jabbar, who won three championships in three seasons from 1967-69 – freshman were ineligible at the time – and was the Final Four Most Outstanding Player each time.

“They’re there less than six months. It’s not even six months and they’re gone,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “It’s a travesty, I think. They’re just using the college system as a stepping stone to the NBA and that’s really unfortunate. I think an education is vital to having a good life and these guys aren’t getting that opportunity. It’s sad.”

Dressed in a dark blazer, blue tie and khaki slacks, the goateed Abdul-Jabbar spoke in a studio about his relationship with Wooden in his new book “Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court.” The book details Wooden’s influence on his life as a player in college and years later as they became closer when Abdul-Jabbar returned to Los Angeles to play for the Lakers.

Wooden won 10 national championships, most by a men’s coach, but Abdul-Jabbar hopes readers will see that many of Wooden’s best lessons weren’t about sports.

“I hope that they get an understanding of the man, what he was all about and what he gave us in terms of an understanding of how to be good citizens, good husbands, good fathers,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “That was really what he was all about. He used basketball just as a metaphor to teach us about life and he did a great job.”

Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s career scoring leader, is now 70 and does some work for ESPN. He picked the Spurs to beat the top-seeded Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

“I went with the Spurs because they have a more veteran team and the way that they play the game will work because they can play an inside game and an outside game,” he said. “Golden State is more of an outside shooting team and they’re very good at it. So that’s why they play the games. We get to go see them and find out if our speculation was accurate or way off base.”

It appeared it was going to be right on, at least for Game 1, when the Spurs built a 25-point lead. But they lost Kawhi Leonard to an ankle injury in the third quarter and Golden State rallied for a 113-111 victory.

“I think San Antonio can challenge them but they’re going to need Leonard if they’re going to take it all the way,” Abdul-Jabbar said.

Report: Grizzlies starting power forward JaMychal Green out several weeks

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The Grizzlies are undefeated, having topped another playoff hopeful (Pelicans) in their season-opener.

But things seem tenuous in Memphis.

Not only is Chandler Parsons feuding with Grizzlies fans, JaMychal Green is hurt.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The supporting cast looks rickety around Mike Conley and Marc Gasol unless second-rounder Dillon Brooks (19 points on 7-of-13 shooting +17 against New Orleans) keeps humming. And maybe even still then.

Green’s injury opens the door for bigger roles for Jarell Martin and maybe Parsons (gulp).

At least Green locked in his guaranteed money. This shows why he couldn’t afford to risk taking the qualifying offer.

Booed by Grizzlies fans, Chandler Parsons says he’ll treat home games like road games

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Chandler Parsons‘ great sin? Signing a four-year, $94 million contract and failing to justify it due to injuries. He missed 48 games last season and struggled mightily while on the court.

His more recent transgression? Missing a couple free throws.

The Grizzlies forward missed a pair from the line in yesterday’s season-opening win over the Pelicans, and Memphis fans booed him:

Later, Parsons drew a three-shot foul, and Marc Gasol tried to rally the crowd behind Parsons:

Plenty of fans cheered, but as Parsons went 1-for-3, others still booed.

Parsons, via Geoff Calkins of The Commercial Appeal:

“I’ll just go into every game with the mentality that it’s a road game, if that’s how it’s going to be,” he said.

Finally, Parsons stuck up for himself, saying, “They can boo me, they can sarcastically cheer me, they can do whatever they want. … It’s tasteless , man, it makes no sense. We’re athletes, we’re human beings. I don’t know them personally, so, it’s just a little strange to me, but that’s sports.”

If Parsons didn’t understand Mavericks fans booing him after he left Dallas, he sure isn’t going to understand Grizzlies fans booing him while he’s still in Memphis.

Fans largely see Parsons as a character in the drama that is the Grizzlies – something removed from their everyday reality. Of course, Parsons is taking it personally. He’s a person, and it’s his everyday reality.

It’s unclear what portion of Memphis fans booed him. Grizzlies fans probably aren’t excited about cheering him right now, but many did – as a direct response to the boos. Even if they would’ve preferred no reaction a vacuum, those cheering fans didn’t want the boo birds speaking for them.

Parsons ought to remember those supportive fans before painting the entire home crowd as the enemy, or else he’ll turn everyone against him. None of this is fair to Parsons, who has surely been frustrated with his injuries, but he can control how he reacts to the fans.

Magic rookie Jonathan Isaac forgot to put on jersey for debut

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In the above video, Magic rookie Jonathan Isaac can be seen sitting on Orlando’s bench wearing his warmups midway through the first quarter. After a timeout, his seat was empty.

Where did he go?

Isaac, via Chris Barnewall of CBS Sports:

“I didn’t even put my jersey on. I was on the bench and I completely forgot my jersey. I didn’t even put it on,” Isaac said.

When asked when he retrieved his white, pinstriped Magic jersey, he said: “five minutes left in the first quarter. [I left it] sitting right there.”

Isaac checked in a few minutes later – with his jersey on – and quickly scored.

Good thing the Magic’s rotation didn’t call for him to enter the game sooner. And this was obviously easier to laugh off after Orlando beat the Heat.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin out for season

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The fears for Nets point guard Jeremy Lin have been realized.

Nets release:

Brooklyn Nets guard Jeremy Lin has been diagnosed with a ruptured patella tendon of the right knee.  The injury occurred during the fourth quarter of last night’s game at Indiana. Lin is expected to miss the entire 2017-18 season.

This is obviously a devastating setback for Lin, who missed 46 games last season in his first year with Brooklyn. The Nets’ already-slim playoff chances fade further with the loss of arguably their best player, though fellow point guard D'Angelo Russell shined in his Brooklyn debut with 30 points.

The trickle-down effects of this injury are perhaps more intriguing.

This makes the Nets’ first-round pick – owned by the Cavaliers – more valuable. Does that make LeBron James more likely to re-sign with Cleveland next summer (either because the Cavs add a top-flight rookie or trade the selection for a valuable veteran)? Does that alter long-term plans in Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia and elsewhere?

Lin’s injury doesn’t just sting in Brooklyn. It could alter the entire landscape of the NBA.