Author: Brett Pollakoff

Houston Rockets v Sacramento Kings

Rockets’ Patrick Beverley expected to remain out for Western Conference Finals matchup with Warriors

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When the Rockets ruled Patrick Beverley out for the season after he suffered a torn ligament in his wrist that would require surgery, they probably weren’t counting on making a run this deep into the postseason.

Now that Houston has made it to the Western Conference Finals, however, observers began to wonder if Beverley might be healed in time to return to the lineup to bolster his team’s defense against a very good Warriors squad.

It’s not looking as though that’s a real possibility.

From Marc Stein and Calvin Watkins of

The Houston Rockets are operating under the premise that perimeter defensive ace Patrick Beverley, out since March with a torn ligament in his left wrist, is unlikely to play in the forthcoming Western Conference finals, according to league sources.

Beverley is scheduled to have his cast removed in coming days and says he’s hopeful of being cleared to play, but sources told ES‎ that the Rockets are pessimistic about Beverley healing sufficiently quickly to return in this round against the 67-win Golden State Warriors. …

“Patrick is not going to get his pin out until June 4 or 5,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said Monday. “I think it’s hard to play with a pin in your (wrist).”

Beverley is one of the league’s better perimeter defenders, and his skill set would certainly come in handy against a Golden State team that makes its living by taking a high volume of attempts from three-point distance.

The decision to have surgery was delayed while Beverley and the Rockets weighed their options. It was a serious step, and deserved to be carefully considered. But had it been done sooner, Beverley may have been available to pester Stephen Curry beginning with Game 1 of the series.

Previewing the 2015 NBA Draft Lottery: Odds and pick scenarios

2012 NBA Draft Lottery

The NBA will hold its Draft Lottery in Manhattan on Tuesday, and while there are reasons why all 14 teams participating can feel good about their chances, here are the actual odds that will factor into how things shake out.

TEAM RECORD CHANCES 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th
Minnesota Timberwolves 16-66 250 .250 .215 .178 .357
New York Knicks 17-65 199 .199 .188 .171 .319 .123
Philadelphia 76ers 18-64 156 .156 .157 .156 .226 .265 .040
Los Angeles Lakers 21-61 119 .119 .126 .133 .099 .351 .160 .012
Orlando Magic 25-57 88 .088 .097 .107 .261 .360 .084 .004
Sacramento Kings 29-53 63 .063 .071 .081 .440 .305 .040 .001
Denver Nuggets 30-52 43 .043 .049 .058 .600 .232 .018 .000
Detroit Pistons 32-50 28 .028 .033 .039 .724 .168 .008 .000
Charlotte Hornets 33-49 17 .017 .020 .024 .813 .122 .004 .000
Miami Heat 37-45 11 .011 .013 .016 .870 .089 .002 .000
Indiana Pacers 38-44 8 .008 .009 .012 .907 .063 .001 .000
Utah Jazz 38-44 7 .007 .008 .010 .935 .039 .000
Phoenix Suns 39-43 6 .006 .007 .009 .960 .018
Oklahoma City Thunder 45-37 5 .005 .006 .007 .982


There are two scenarios where teams could lose their picks, depending on where they fall, thanks to prior trade agreements.

The Sixers will get the Lakers pick if it should fall to sixth or seventh, and Philadelphia could also end up with Miami’s pick (via dealing Thaddeus Young to Minnesota) if it falls outside the top 10.

As for the lottery itself, it goes down like this (via

– Fourteen ping-pong balls numbered 1 through 14 will be placed in a lottery machine. There are 1,001 possible combinations when four balls are drawn out of 14, without regard to their order of selection. Prior to the lottery, 1,000 of those 1,001 combinations will be assigned to the 14 participating lottery teams.

– All 14 balls are placed in the lottery machine and they are mixed for 20 seconds; then the first ball is removed. The remaining balls are mixed in the lottery machine for another 10 seconds, and then second ball is drawn. There is a 10-second mix, and then the third ball is drawn. There is a 10-second mix, and then the fourth ball is drawn. The team that has been assigned that combination will receive the number one pick. The same process is repeated with the same ping-pong balls and lottery machine for the second pick and then again for the third pick.

– The order of selection for the teams that do not win one of the top three picks will be determined by inverse order of their regular-season record. Thus, Minnesota can pick no lower than fourth, New York (17-65) no lower than fifth and Philadelphia (18-64) no lower than sixth.

– The actual drawing happens privately before the nationally televised broadcast, but not because there’s anything nefarious taking place. It’s completed in a room full of league and team executives, as well as a few members of the media. And as you can see below, it’s incredibly boring to watch.

The Draft Lottery will be broadcast from the Grand Ballroom of the New York Hilton Midtown hotel, and can be seen tonight on ESPN beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Cavaliers’ Iman Shumpert not happy with reporter who printed his semi-threatening remarks

Oklahoma City Thunder v Cleveland Cavaliers

During the second quarter of the Cavaliers’ series-clinching Game 6 win over the Bulls, Nikola Mirotic committed a flagrant foul against Iman Shumpert, clotheslining him as he attempted to drive to the basket.

The play seemed to motivate Shumpert, who scored his team’s next five points and finished the second quarter with 11 points and six rebounds to help his team begin to put Chicago away.

Afterward, Shumpert had what he thought was a private conversation with LeBron James about it. But reporters were in the locker room, and the comments which were overheard ended up being printed for all to see.

Chris Haynes of

Shumpert was still miffed by that wrestling tactic after the game. As he was getting dressed, he was telling James “That dude better be cool. I’m from here. I got my family here and everything. He wants to get out safe, don’t he?”

It prompted a laugh from his teammates and James responded, “He must not know you’re from The Chi.”

The fact that his teammates laughed made it fairly clear that this was a light-hearted remark from Shumpert, and during the game, there was no retaliation from anyone on the Cleveland side for Mirotic’s hit.

But Shumpert wasn’t at all pleased that his remarks were made public; they could have been perceived to be legitimately threatening by some,  and technically, they were made to a teammate and not to reporters, despite the media being present in the locker room space.

Having been in NBA locker rooms myself for several years, I can say definitively that you see and hear all kinds of things that aren’t meant to be distributed for public consumption.

But at the same time, when reporting to the masses, if something strikes you as harmless that would add color to the game story, or provide fans with some additional perspective, then you go with it — because after all, that’s part of why you have that access in the first place.

In this situation, the reporter obviously felt there was no harm in sharing Shumpert’s discussion. I tend to agree, but obviously, the player who was quoted didn’t see it the same way.

Pacers president Larry Bird tells Willie Cauley-Stein: ‘I think you’re a $100 million dollar player’

Willie Cauley-Stein

In the weeks leading up to this summer’s NBA Draft, teams will put a lot of information out there about which prospects they like — some of it truthful, some of it less so.

Part of that will be to try to persuade rival clubs one way or another, so that the prospect a team truly wants will still be on the board when it’s their turn to make a selection.

Another reason for this is that draft night is traditionally a time when many teams are open to making trades — either packaging a player and a pick in order to acquire an experienced roster upgrade, or simply involving moving up or down in the draft itself.

So, keep all of this in mind when you hear what Pacers president Larry Bird had to say to Willie Cauley-Stein when he met with him at the draft combine in Chicago last week.

From Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star:

WCS on his meeting w/ #Pacers: “Larry (Bird) told me, ‘I think you’re a $100 million dollar player.’ I hear that and I’m like, ‘Really?!’”

WCS said that he will have a workout w/ the #Pacers in the near future.

WCS on #Pacers: “They see me as a player in the five position & put Paul (George) at the four. Now I’ll have a mismatch…”

Interesting that the five position was discussed, considering how Indiana seems extremely hopeful that Roy Hibbert chooses free agency over his player option to return, and even if he does come back, head coach Frank Vogel said he may end up being benched.

The Pacers currently have the 11th overall selection in the June 25 draft, with only a 0.7 percent chance of ending up with the top pick when the ping pong balls are drawn on May 19. Cauley-Stein will almost certainly go before then, so if Bird really likes him that much, he’ll need to find a way to trade up in order to grab the player he wants.

Blazers GM says changing rules to prevent Hack-a-Shaq strategy is ‘a slippery slope’

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets - Game One

The strategy to commit fouls away from the ball in order to send poor free throw shooters to the line is fair under the current rules, although it’s anything but entertaining to watch.

Because of its lack of aesthetic value, many both inside and outside the league would like to see the so-called Hack-a-Shaq method of defense completely removed as an option, which could be easily done by simply giving these types of fouls the same treatment as a technical — the team that was victimized receives one free throw and retains possession of the ball, and thus the desire to pursue the strategy is eliminated entirely.

But a recent report stated that there was not enough support among the league’s general managers to move forward with a rule change at this time. And Blazers GM Neil Olshey was one who remained skeptical that it was something that needed to be addressed at all.

From Casey Holdahl of

“Aesthetically, we do have an issue,” said Olshey. “But I think it’s more isolated than people want to believe. This doesn’t go on all season… I think it’s a unique situation because you have two people who are vulnerable to this kind of strategy playing in the same series. I think look at Atlanta and Washington, we don’t see it. I think when you look at Memphis and Golden State, you don’t see it. So to throw the baby out with the bathwater because we happen to have to live through a matchup where this kind of strategy is being employed, I think is premature.”

Olshey then went on to say that Blake Griffin used to get intentional fouled all the time, but that he did what many say is the answer to the issue: he improved this free throw shooting.

Said Olshey: “To legislate against a player having issues with one specific skill, it’s a slippery slope.”

Olshey is right in that this hardly happens on a nightly basis. But when it does, it’s brutal to watch.

The main thing influencing general managers at this point is likely the data that was presented at their annual meeting in Chicago last week, which showed that 76 percent of the intentional fouls this season, including the playoffs, have been committed against just five players: DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard, Josh Smith, Joey Dorsey and Andre Drummond.

The problem, obviously, is that Howard and Jordan are simultaneously participating in a seven-game series between the Rockets and the Clippers, which draws an undue amount of attention to the issue.