In advance of the June 25 NBA Draft, it’s common practice for prospects to go through a series of workouts with various teams that have the potential to select them.
But that’s not always true for guys slotted into one of the top two picks.
Karl-Anthony Towns and Jahlil Okafor are widely expected to go one and two (in some order) in this summer’s draft. While the Timberwolves will have the ultimate say (and they reportedly like Okafor), even if Towns doesn’t go No. 1 overall, it’s highly unlikely that he slides past the Lakers at two.
Perhaps because of this, Towns reportedly won’t be working out for any NBA teams.
From Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com:
Projected No. 1 draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns will interview with the top two teams in the NBA Draft lottery — the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers — but won’t workout for any teams, sources told SNY.tv. …
Towns is working out in Los Angeles with former UCLA star Don MacLean, who raved to SNY.tv about Towns’ potential and work ethic.
“I’ve been doing this for 11 or 12 years pre-draft,” MacLean, the leading scorer in Pac-12 and UCLA history, previously told SNY.tv. “Because I had a lot of top 10 picks and a lot of really good players, I’m not really impressed or blown away. I had Towns all last week and I was blown away. Blown away.”
The interview is more important anyway at this point, because there is plenty of film on guys showing how they perform in live-game situations. Things like desire, work ethic, intelligence and attention to detail are what teams want to measure in person, and those qualities go well beyond a potential draftee’s physical capabilities.
Thabo Sefolosha was supposed to provide elite defense and three-point shooting off the bench for the top-seeded Hawks during their run through the postseason, but a late-night incident with police in New York city put an end to all that before the playoffs got started.
Sefolosha was ruled out for the season after suffering a leg fracture while in police custody, and said in no uncertain terms that his injury was caused by the police.
Now that Atlanta has been eliminated from playoff contention, Sefolosha went into a little more detail about what he’s been going through since the unfortunate encounter took place.
From Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com:
“I was injured in the hands of the police, and it took away a lot from my everyday life,” Sefolosha said during an interview at his home. “From being able to help put the kids in bed, going up and down the stairs.
“We are talking about the stress that it has brought to the entire family, you know, my mom and dad in Switzerland, my brothers and sisters, my wife. Also, the damage to my reputation. I’ve had people texting me about what they saw in the newspaper and things like this. Every aspect of my life was affected by something like this, and I think putting light on the aftermath of something like this, I think that’s also something that’s important.”
There’s more that Sefolosha shared, including (needlessly) defending himself for being out so late when the incident took place.
It’s honestly shocking that this wasn’t a much bigger national news story that carried with it an extended shelf life. While not a household name, Sefolosha was a key reserve on the team with the best record in the Eastern Conference. Imagine, for example, if a role player for the Warriors or Cavaliers suffered a comparable fate — with all the attention surrounding Stephen Curry and LeBron James, it’s hard to believe a scenario like this involving one of their teammates would be similarly swept under the rug.
When President Obama visited Nike World Headquarters in Oregon earlier this month, he was (of course) gifted with some very unique pairs of sneakers.
One of the sets Obama was given, an MTM two-pair pack of Air Jordans, has finally been revealed — and a release date has been set.
From T Magazine of the New York Times:
MTM is named for the three men who designed the two pairs in collaboration: Nike C.E.O. Mark Parker and designer Tinker Hatfield and, of course, Michael Jordan himself. “The MTM is a great way to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Air Jordan franchise,” Jordan says of the collaboration. “It was a lot of fun to work with Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker on reimagining two of the best shoes we have ever created.”
The MTM bookends the history of the world’s most recognizable sneaker: It contains a pair of Air Jordan I, the silhouette first released in 1985, and a pair of Air Jordan XX9, the most recent model released last fall. The Jordan I shoes have been updated with FlyWeave construction in black and gray, while the XX9s have been reimagined in sleek black leather.
Here’s a look:
Extremely nice, and extremely expensive.
The two-pair MTM release (for $700!) will be available June 13 at Nike Lab P75 in Paris and June 26 at jordan.com and select Jordan retailers.
The Suns haven’t made the playoffs since 2010, and yet another season ended in disappointment when Phoenix failed to make the postseason once more.
Of course, that was due largely in part to the trades the franchise made at February’s deadline, which shuffled the deck and sent perhaps two of the team’s best three players out of town, despite what the GM in Phoenix declared at the time.
The roster is a bit of a mess right now, which is why the Suns are more open to trading their pick in this summer’s draft than they’ve been in seasons past. In the meantime, the team has decided to make some changes in its coaching staff in order to be better-suited for the player development responsibilities that are likely to be on the way.
From Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:
The Suns are tweaking coach Jeff Hornacek’s staff in hopes of making improvements beyond what they will do to the roster in the next two months.
Assistant coach Kenny Gattison’s two-year tenure on the Suns staff ended as he was informed that his contract, set to expire June 30, would not be renewed. The Suns also will reassign assistant coach Mark West to the front office, promote player development coach Corey Gaines to assistant coach and hire D-League affiliate head coach Nate Bjorkgren as a player-development coach.
Director of Player Personnel John Treloar, who ran most of the basketball operation for former Suns General Manager Lance Blanks, also will leave after the June 25 NBA draft to become the associate head coach at Louisiana State, where he was an assistant coach from 2004-08. Treloar has scouted prospects and organized draft workouts for the Suns since Ryan McDonough became general manager in 2013, the same time assistant GM Pat Connelly was hired.
This doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things; the personnel on the roster is more important than the assistants who end up helping Hornacek behind the scenes.
But it does show that the organization is looking at everything as it makes every effort to get back to the playoffs — a prospect made much more difficult in the immediate future by the decisions that were made in the middle of this past season.
John Wall posted a picture to his Instagram page six days ago announcing his trip to Vegas, but evidently things went south with someone he was with as he attempted to fly back to D.C.
NBA superstar John Wall was kicked off an American Airlines flight in Las Vegas this week … after someone in his crew allegedly threatened another passenger … TMZ Sports has learned.
Law enforcement sources tell us … the Washington Wizards star had boarded a flight headed to D.C. on May 26th — but before the plane took off, his crew got into a verbal argument with someone else on the plane and a threat was allegedly made from someone in Wall’s group.
We’re told someone from the flight crew called the Las Vegas Metro Police Department for help — and cops boarded the plane to deal with the situation.
The alleged victim told cops he did not want to press charges — but the pilot of the plane decided he did NOT want Wall and his crew to remain on the flight … so they were escorted off.
No charges were filed, so this incident will likely be a minor source of embarrassment for Wall, and nothing more. But it should serve as a reminder to professional athletes that it’s good to be cautious when choosing who to surround yourself with during the offseason.