Dan Feldman

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Caron Butler: Tony Romo could have played professional basketball


Tony Romo will apparently be in uniform, though not playing, for the Mavericks tomorrow.

Maybe the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback could have actually had a career in professional basketball if he pursued it.

That’s at least the theory of Caron Butler, the former NBA player who played high school basketball in Wisconsin the same time as Romo.

Butler, via Todd Archer and Marc Stein of ESPN

“Believe it or not, man, when we were in the prime of our careers, I used to always talk about it: [Romo] could have easily been a professional basketball player,” Caron Butler told ESPN. “And a lot of people were like, ‘Man, you’re crazy for saying that,’ but Tony could shoot. He could handle the ball. He had a knack for scoring, man, he really did.

“He was a really good football player, obviously, being a quarterback. He was great at golf. And he was really good at basketball. Obviously it worked out for him with the football, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if he would have made it playing basketball. He had a great feel for the game, man. And it’s not surprising. Golf is a cerebral game; you gotta have that mental component to conquer the course. And then football’s the same thing; you gotta be able to think on the fly and do all these things. And then basketball, I thought, all those components worked together.”

I mean, maybe. Romo obviously has a certain type of athletic talent.

But he was just 6-foot-2 and didn’t necessarily have the running/jumping ability to play high-end basketball — no matter how well his mental attributes would translate.

The best thing for the legend of Romo as a basketball player is that he never had to prove it.

2017 PBT Awards: All-Defensive

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Kurt Helin

First team

Second Team

This is one category I’m still reviewing (watching film, talking to people about) and may tweak because there are good cases for a number of others not here (Danny Green, Thabo Sefolosha, Dewayne Dedmon, Robert Covington, and more). While both CP3 and Beverley missed chunks of time this season, both played in enough games and were so impactful they had to make the team. Paul Millsap’s defense is one of those things too many fans sleep on.

Note: Helin has an official ballot this year.

Dan Feldman

First team

      • G: Andre Roberson, Thunder
      • G: Patrick Beverley, Rockets
      • F: Draymond Green, Warriors
      • F: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs
      • C: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Second team

      • G: Chris Paul, Clippers
      • G: Jimmy Butler, Bulls
      • F: Paul Millsap, Hawks
      • F: Anthony Davis, Pelicans
      • C: DeAndre Jordan, Clippers

Andre Roberson, Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard, Rudy Gobert and Paul Millsap slid into place easily.

Patrick Beverley and Chris Paul were neck-and-neck for the final first-team guard spot. Butler edged Danny Green, Tony Allen and Thabo Sefolosha for the second team.

I debated DeAndre Jordan, Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard for second-team center. Dewayne Dedmon and Joel Embiid defended better than all three while on the court, but they played too little to match the contributions of Jordan, Davis and Howard. I keep second-guessing sliding Davis to forward. He played more center and always guarded centers as a center, and even as a forward, he sometimes guarded centers. But I put him there anyway.

Counting an extra big, the inherent value of size defensively and putting every wing at guard really shows how small forwards who don’t defend guards — like Robert Covington, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and I suspect, if were healthy, Kevin Durant — really get squeezed in this format unless they’re as elite as Leonard.

Dane Carbaugh

First team

      • G: John Wall, Wizards
      • G: Avery Bradley, Celtics
      • F: Kawhi Leonard, Spurs
      • F: Draymond Green, Warriors
      • C: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Second team

It’s pretty easy to sort out the first team here. The top DPOY candidates are all there, and you can argue until your lungs collapse about which should go over the other. Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green, and Rudy Gobert are the top guys, and the rest falls into place accordingly. John Wall makes the cut for me not just because of what he does on the defensive end of the floor but how that compares given he’s one of the best passers in the NBA.

Cavaliers apparently resting LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love against Heat

Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Cavaliers appear set on a decision that will send shockwaves through the Eastern Conference.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

The Cavaliers will sit LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love tonight against the Heat in apparent choice of rest for the playoffs over continuing the fight for the No. 1 seed.

The Cavs are planning to start J.R. Smith, Richard Jefferson, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, and Deron Williams against the Heat, who need to win to keep pace with the Bulls for the eighth seed.

Cleveland’s lineup listed above was posted as part of the team’s media notes for tonight’s game and is subject to change.

This is huge for the Cavaliers, who are tied with the Celtics for the Eastern Conference’s best record. Cleveland has the tiebreaker, but this makes a loss to Miami – and falling to the No. 2 seed – far more likely. The Cavs lost twice to the Hawks over the weekend with LeBron (88 minutes), Irving (78 minutes) and Love (77 minutes) carrying huge loads. The Cavaliers just showed they could wallop the Celtics in Boston, so perhaps rest is more valuable than home-court advantage in that potential Eastern Conference finals matchup.

This is huge for the Celtics, who could gain the No. 1 seed. Boston closes by hosting the Nets and Bucks. The Celtics

This is huge for the Raptors, who are locked into the No. 2 or No. 3 seed. Though they present a more formidable threat to Cleveland, they’re still unlikely to beat the Cavs. Now, that matchup is more likely to come in the second round – and look like a step back for Toronto, which lost to the Cavaliers in last year’s conference finals.

This is huge for Wizards, who are guaranteed the No. 4 seed. If the Cavs fall to the second seed, Washington would avoid the defending champs until the conference finals.

This is huge for the Hawks, Bucks, Pacers and Bulls, who are all jockeying for seeds 5-8. If they can swing it, they’ll try harder to avoid No. 7 and a first-round matchup with Cleveland. It’s especially big for Miami, which is currently tied for eighth but doesn’t have the tiebreaker against Chicago.

Of course, the Cavaliers sitting their stars doesn’t guarantee the Heat a win tonight. They’ll have to earn it on the court.

That task just looks much easier now.

Is Ben Simmons nearly 7-foot now?

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

World B. Free started a rumor that 76ers rookie Ben Simmons, who’s listed at 6-foot-10, is nearly 7-foot now.

How tall is last the No. 1 pick actually?

Jon Johnson of WIP:

But Philadelphia coach Brett Brown says otherwise.

Enrico Campitelli of CSN Philly:

Brett was asked if Ben Simmons has grown two inches to now be a 7-footer?

“No. He is not,” Brown said.

Has he grown an inch?

“I don’t believe so. I feel like I shrunk an inch.”

“I can feel comfortable saying, ‘No.’ He didn’t grow to 7-feet. I wish he did.”

NBA players fudge their height all the time. Height can also fluctuate throughout the day.

So, I don’t even know the best way to measure Simmons on a scale relative to his NBA peers, let alone his exact height.

But he’s very tall for someone who will play point guard, and that’s very cool.

2017 PBT Awards: Executive of the Year

AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

Kurt Helin

1. Daryl Morey, Rockets

2. Bob Myers, Warriors

3. R.C. Buford, Spurs

Because this is voted on by other executives (not the media), and because neither of the top two guys are terribly popular with their peers, this could go a lot of directions. Myers and Morey were almost a coin flip for me, but Morey did beautifully what the Knicks and Lakers organizations failed to do — give Mike D’Antoni a team built to play his style of basketball, not square pegs for round holes.

Dan Feldman

1. Bob Myers, Warriors

2. Daryl Morey, Rockets

3. Masai Ujiri, Raptors

Myers signed Kevin Durant. Sure, the Warriors general manager lucked into Stephen Curry‘s injury-caused smaller contract extension and an unprecedented salary cap explosion. But Myers closed on Durant. That’s enough. It doesn’t hurt that Myers also lured bargain bigs Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee and David West.

Morey was a close second, as he created a complete culture around James Harden with Mike D’Antoni, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Lou Williams. Ujiri re-signed DeMar DeRozan with much less fuss than expected and swung value in-season trades for Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, who will have the Raptors ready if the Cavaliers stumble in the playoffs.

Dane Carbaugh

1. Daryl Morey, Rockets

2. Danny Ainge, Celtics

3. Bob Myers, Warriors

It’s hard to look past a solidifying Boston Celtics team and not give some amount of credit to Danny Ainge, even if it seems like he did not make The Big Trade for the 387th season in a row. Bob Myers has to be in this conversation with the best record in the NBA and because Kevin Durant may or may not have decided to sign with the Warriors long before last summer. But I come back to Daryl Morey, who lost a star player in Dwight Howard but was smart enough to couple James Harden with Mike D’Antoni. It’s all about fit in this league, and Morey found the right one this season in Houston.