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Potential first-rounder Rodions Kurucs withdraws from 2017 NBA draft

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The first – and most important – withdrawal deadline for the NBA draft came last month, but that’s set by the NCAA for players to maintain eligibility.

The NBA’s withdrawal deadline was this week, and that’s the relevant one for international players not shackled by the NCAA’s ever-shifting definition of “amateurism.”

Before the NBA’s deadline, 38 more players (oddly including two college players) withdrew from the draft. The most notable: Rodions Kurucs, a 19-year-old forward who appeared to have a solid shot of going in the first round.

Kurucs has mostly played for FC Barcelona’s lower teams. He needs more experience and to get stronger. But he has the size, athleticism and shooting stroke to project in the NBA.

It seemed he could develop in the NBA or even D-League while on an NBA contract. Alas, he went another route.

Here’s a full update on draft bookkeeping. NBA release:

Here is the list of international players who have withdrawn their names from consideration for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm:

 

PLAYER                                              TEAM (COUNTRY*)

Ege Arar                                                Galatasaray (Turkey)

Laurynas Beliauskas                              Neptunas (Lithuania)

Terrence Bieshaar                                  Joventut (Spain)

Laurynas Birutis                                    Vytautas (Lithuania)

Leo Cizmic                                            Sevilla (Spain)         

Berkan Durmaz                                      Tofas (Turkey)

Martynas Echodas                                  Siauliai (Lithuania)

Cyrille Eliezer-Vanerot                          Levallois (France)

Aquiles Ferreira                                     Pinheiros (Brazil)

Diego Flaccadori                                    Trento (Italy)

Tolga Gecim                                          Banvit (Turkey)

Yoan Granvorka                                    Nancy (France)

Egemen Guven                                      Karsiyaka (Turkey)

Karlis Helmanis                                     RTU Riga (Latvia)

Aleksa Ilic                                             Buducnost (Montenegro)

Verners Kohs                                         GBA Sparta (Czech Republic)

Antonios Koniaris                                  PAOK (Greece)

Arnoldas Kulboka                                  Baunach (Germany)

Rodions Kurucs                                     Barcelona (Spain)

Axel Louissaint                                      Lugano (Switzerland)

Michail Lountzis                                    Panathinaikos (Greece)

Gytis Masiulis                                        Zalgiris (Lithuania)

Lovro Mazalin                                       Zadar (Croatia)

Regimantas Miniotas                              Vytautas (Lithuania)

Kostja Mushidi                                      Mega Leks (Serbia)

Margiris Normantas                               Lietuvos Rytas (Lithuania)

Elie Okobo                                            Pau Orthez (France)

Viny Okouo                                            Unicaja (Spain)

Ayberk Olmaz                                         Istanbul BSB (Turkey)

Lucas Pereira                                          Pinheiros (Brazil)

Martynas Sajus                                        Starogard (Poland)

Borisa Simanic                                        Crvena Zvezda (Serbia)

Nik Slavica                                             Cibona (Croatia)

Berk Ugurlu                                            Fenerbahce (Turkey)

Kristupas Zemaitis                                   Vytautas (Lithuania)

Zou Yuchen                                            Bayi Fubang (China)

 

Here is the list of additional players from colleges who have withdrawn their names from consideration for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm:

 

PLAYER                                              SCHOOL

Darin Johnson                                        CSU-Northridge

Maverick Rowan                                   North Carolina State

 

Following is a list of players from colleges who remain early entry candidates for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm:

 

PLAYER                                              SCHOOL

Edrice Adebayo                                     Kentucky

Jarrett Allen                                           Texas

Ike Anigbogu                                         UCLA

OG Anunoby                                         Indiana

Dwayne Bacon                                      Florida State

Lonzo Ball                                             UCLA

Jordan Bell                                            Oregon

James Blackmon Jr.                               Indiana

Antonio Blakeney                                  LSU

Tony Bradley                                         North Carolina

Isaiah Briscoe                                        Kentucky

Dillon Brooks                                        Oregon

Thomas Bryant                                      Indiana

Clandell Cetoute                                    Thiel College (PA)

John Collins                                          Wake Forest

Zach Collins                                          Gonzaga

Chance Comanche                                 Arizona

Tyler Dorsey                                         Oregon

PJ Dozier                                               South Carolina

Jawun Evans                                          Oklahoma State

Tony Farmer                                          Lee College (TX)

De’Aaron Fox                                        Kentucky

Markelle Fultz                                       Washington

Harry Giles                                            Duke

Isaac Humphries                                    Kentucky

Tre Hunter                                             Mt. San Jacinto College (CA)

Jonathan Isaac                                       Florida State

Frank Jackson                                        Duke

Josh Jackson                                          Kansas

Justin Jackson                                        North Carolina

Jaylen Johnson                                       Louisville

Ted Kapita                                             North Carolina State

Marcus Keene                                        Central Michigan

Luke Kennard                                        Duke

Kyle Kuzma                                          Utah

TJ Leaf                                                  UCLA

Tyler Lydon                                          Syracuse

Lauri Markkanen                                   Arizona

Eric Mika                                               BYU

Donovan Mitchell                                  Louisville

Malik Monk                                           Kentucky

Johnathan Motley                                  Baylor

Austin Nichols                                       Virginia

Semi Ojeleye                                         SMU

Cameron Oliver                                     Nevada

Justin Patton                                          Creighton

L.J. Peak                                                Georgetown

Ivan Rabb                                              California

Xavier Rathan-Mayes                             Florida State

Devin Robinson                                     Florida

Josh Robinson                                       Austin Peay

Kobi Simmons                                       Arizona

Dennis Smith Jr.                                    North Carolina State

Edmond Sumner                                    Xavier

Caleb Swanigan                                     Purdue

Jayson Tatum                                        Duke

Matt Taylor                                            New Mexico State

Trevor Thompson                                  Ohio State

Melo Trimble                                         Maryland

Craig Victor II                                        LSU

Antone Warren                                      Antelope Valley CC (CA)

Nigel Williams-Goss                              Gonzaga

D.J. Wilson                                            Michigan

 

Following is a list of international players who remain early entry candidates for the NBA Draft 2017 presented by State Farm:

 

PLAYER                                              TEAM (COUNTRY*)

Simon Birgander                                    Clavijo (Spain)

Luka Bozic                                            Zagreb (Croatia)

Vlatko Cancar                                        Mega Leks (Serbia)

Wesley Alves Da Silva                           Paulistano (Brazil)

George de Paula                                     Paulistano (Brazil)

Isaiah Hartenstein                                  Zalgiris (Lithuania)

Jonathan Jeanne                                     Nancy (France)

Alpha Kaba                                           Mega Leks (Serbia)

Tidjan Keita                                           Cegep de Thetford (Canada)

Frank Ntilikina                                      Strasbourg (France)

 

*Country indicates where team plays, not country of players nationality

Curry scores 35, Warriors rally to beat 76ers 124-116

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PHILADELPHIA — Stephen Curry scored 35 points, Kevin Durant had 27 and the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors overcame a 22-point halftime deficit in a 124-116 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night.

Joel Embiid scored 21 points and Ben Simmons had 23 points and 12 assists for Philadelphia, which led 47-28 after one quarter and 74-52 at the half.

But the Warriors erased that large deficit with a furious rally in the third quarter. Curry’s 3-pointer got them within one point. He then made a pair of free throws to give Golden State a 90-89 lead.

The two-time NBA MVP hit another 3 and Draymond Green blew past a defender for a dunk to make it 99-89 going into the fourth.

A raucous, sellout crowd that chanted “Trust the Process” most of the night went silent while the Warriors put on a shooting clinic in the second half.

Even veteran David West came off the bench and made big shots in the fourth quarter to give the Warriors distance. He finished with 14 points. Klay Thompson had 16.

Embiid was coming off a career-best performance – 46 points, 15 rebounds, seven blocks, seven assists – in a 115-109 win at the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.

He seemed on his way to another monster game in the first quarter. Embiid embraced the frenzied fans and slapped hands with a guy sitting courtside after a dunk.

But the Warriors showed why they’re the best by stifling Philadelphia in the second half to improve to 12-4.

The Sixers, who lost 135-114 at Golden State one week ago, fell to 8-7.

Playing his first game since receiving a lucrative contract extension, Robert Covington had 20 points for Philly.

Back home for the first time following a five-game road trip to the West Coast, the Sixers showed no jet lag in the first half.

They jumped ahead 15-4 following a 3-pointer by Embiid. Covington stripped Durant and hit a 3 to make it 37-18, electrifying the crowd.

Durant’s dunk off Green’s alley-oop pass got the Warriors within 70-51 late in the second. But Embiid finished off the half with a dunk that sent the Sixers into the locker room up 74-52.

TIP-INS

Warriors: The 47 points allowed in the first quarter was their most given up in any quarter since Portland had 48 in the fourth quarter of a game on Nov. 14, 1992.

76ers: J.J. Redick scored 20 points, and Dario Saric had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

UP NEXT

Warriors: Continue their four-game road trip Sunday afternoon at Brooklyn.

76ers: Host Utah on Monday night.

 

Top-10 college recruit Anfernee Simmons may go straight to NBA

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A couple of years back, Thon Maker decided to play a post-graduate fifth year of prep school ball, not go to a major college, then jump to the NBA. He could because he had graduated a year before and was 19, the Bucks took him in the lottery, and so far it has worked out for everyone.

Now another recruit, Anfernee Simmons, may follow that path. Simmons is spending this year at the IMG Academy, and the combo guard is considered a top-10 recruit in this class.

Jonathan Givony of ESPN broke the story after speaking to Simmons.

“Some people have brought it to my attention,” Simons told ESPN during an interview in Connecticut, where his team was participating in the National Prep Showcase. “As long as the opportunity is there, I will do it.

“I can see myself going to the NBA combine, if I have enough teams to actually invite me or recommend me for the combine and enough teams want to bring me for workouts. I really need to hit the weight room hard and get a little stronger.”

This is a sensible approach — find out where you roughly fall in the draft, then make a decision. Listen to the teams, not friends/family/agents. If you have a first-round guarantee, then go pro.

Givony and others describe the 6’3″ Simmons as talented but still a project for the NBA level, starting with the fact he needs to get stronger (something true of most rookies). Not that it really scares off teams any longer, many are willing to develop and wait on a player with potential (he could spend a chunk of his first season in the G-League). Simmons is fast when he drives, and has a smooth release on his jumper. If he gets stronger and his game matures, a team may take a risk on him.

Shorthanded Cavaliers now without Iman Shumpert for 5-7 days

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Isaiah Thomas is still rehabbing his hip, he should return next month.

With him out, Tyronn Lue and the Cavaliers have had to lean more on Derrick Rose at the point, except he has a sprained ankle that is going to have him out a couple more weeks.

That has forced Iman Shumpert into the starting point guard role in Cleveland, although he mostly is there for defense/shooting as the playmaking duties fall to LeBron James.

Now the Cavaliers will have to get by without Shumpert for a while with water on the knee, Cleveland announced on Saturday. He left Friday night’s Cavs win against the Clippers with a sore knee and did not return

“Additional examination and imaging today at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health confirmed left knee effusion. He will be out 5-7 days while he undergoes treatment and rehabilitation,” the Cavaliers said in a statement.

This is going to force Lue to play Jose Calderon, who he has kept glued to the bench this season despite the injuries. J.R. Smith and Dwyane Wade will need to take on more run as well.

The Celtics have won four in a row — thanks to a more focused offense — and face the Pistons, Nets, and Hornets this week.

Joakim Noah on if he can play at former level: “Probably not. Probably not.”

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For three games, Joakim Noah has been clear of the 20-game PED suspension he started at the end of last season.

For three games, he has not even dressed for the Knicks.

This is the former Defensive Player of the Year who was already on the decline when Phil Jackson gave him a $72 million contract that is now the worst in the NBA. Noah is out of the rotation, where Enes Kanter starts at center (with Kristaps Porzingis at the four) and Kyle O’Quinn coming off the bench.

Noah told Marc Berman of the New York Post he is frustrated but gets the situation.

“I’ll be all right. I’ll be all right,’’ Noah said in his first comments since being reinstated. “I understand the situation. I’m going to make the best of it.”

When asked if he still feels he can be close to the player he was in his 2013-14 campaign, Noah said: “Probably not. Probably not. You know. I can help. I feel like I could help this team and that’s just my reality. But I just want to just be the best that I can be.

“It’s not about trying to be what I was three, four years ago, because it’s not the reality.”

Noah is a smart and mature player, he understands his reality, and he has the exact attitude you want a veteran off the bench. He can help in practices, he can help because he understands how to play defense and can teach it, and eventually, he will get a chance on the court. He is not part of the future of the Knicks, but he can guide these young players.

The Knicks new management will look for a way to unload Noah’s contract, but considering the sweeteners the Knicks would need to throw in to get a team to deal for Noah, it’s unlikely we see any action on that front for a long time.