Kurt Helin

Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle wears glasses after being injured during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Los Angeles. The Nuggets won 120-109. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
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Byron Scott pulls Julius Randle, who is irritated as to why

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With 4:43 left in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ 20-point win against the Suns Sunday, Lakers’ coach Byron Scott yanked Julius Randle from the court, the first of him pulling all the bench players and re-inserting the starters to preserve the win. That would be three wins in a row for Los Angeles, something to celebrate.

After the game, Scott expressed his frustration with Randle. From Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

Randle didn’t exactly show deference to the coach when he heard the comments.

My first thought: Byron Scott wants to single out a particular Laker for not playing defense now? This team hasn’t played defense all season (they are tied for the worst defense in the NBA heading into Monday’s games).

My second thought: I like players who don’t want to be pulled out of the game.

Scott’s skill at developing young players has been a question mark all season (and at a couple of coaching stops before this one). He pulled the team’s future to get the starters in (which does include Larry Nance and Jordan Clarkson) so they could preserve the win and improve to 8-27 on the season. It’s fair to ask if the Lakers are not better served long term with their highest ceiling young players learning to play through trouble.

Was he wrong in this particular instance? That can be debated. But the trend of leaning on veterans and sacrificing long-term growth for the sake of short-term wins seems to be a season-long trend for the Lakers.

Bulls say MRI shows no structural damage to Rose’s leg

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CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls say an MRI shows no structural damage to the right leg of star point guard Derrick Rose.

Rose is a game-time decision for Tuesday’s matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks after sitting out the past three games because of a hamstring problem. He had the MRI on Monday to rule out any issues with his right knee, which he has had surgery on twice to repair his meniscus.

The Bulls have won four in a row and are second in the Central Division at 20-12.

Elton Brand on joining Sixers: “I’m not through with this game yet, that’s why”

Elton Brand
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After 16 NBA seasons, two All-Star Games, a Rookie of the Year Award, being the College Player of the Year award, and $167 million, why would Elton Brand come back to the NBA on it’s clearly worst team?

Brand is honest in a must-read piece he wrote for The Cauldron at Sports Illustrated — he wasn’t ready to leave the NBA. It’s not the money, it’s certainly not to chase a ring, it’s about legacy.

The truth is, my decision to return to the NBA isn’t about money, and it isn’t about rings. It isn’t even about me, really, although every athlete would like to go out on his or her own terms. It’s about repaying what’s owed, about making sure that the young men who follow in my footsteps get what they’re entitled to (and what I haven’t always given them).

It’s not so much that I failed the guys I was tasked with mentoring over the years; it’s that I barely even tried. I never took the time to share the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s writing with them. I never sincerely answered their questions about what David West was trying to warn them about during NBPA meetings. I didn’t tell them why they should be reading Etan Thomas’ essays….

You might’ve noticed we’ve got a pretty talented kid on the roster in Jahlil Okafor, someone I happen to share some things in common with. Despite how he’s been portrayed, I know Jahlil. He’s a good kid with a good heart. He’s not unlike most 20-year-olds you probably know, and he’s definitely not at all different than most of his fellow players. Hell, if camera phones were around when Brad Miller, Ron Artest, and I were Jahlil’s age, we might’ve been banned from the league altogether, never mind suspended for a few games.

It is about legacy for Brand, and it is about his adopted hometown.

With Jerry Colangelo calling the shots now, the Sixers have talked about having a more mature, veteran voice in the locker room. Someone who could guide the young players on the team. Would that have kept Okafor off TMZ? Probably not the first time, but what about the second time?

Young players need a role model to follow, someone to show them what it takes to be a professional in the NBA in the locker room. Coaches and agents can only do so much, peer pressure matters. Okafor can bring that to a team in need of it.

Most importantly, he’s eager to do it.

PBT Podcast: NBA Draft talk with Ed Isaacson

,FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2015, file photo, LSU's Ben Simmons looks to pass against the College of Charleston during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C.  As the Southeastern Conference heads  into league competition, it remains tough to figure which teams stand as defending champion Kentucky’s biggest competition. Simmons ranks second nationally in rebounding (13.0) and fourth in the SEC in scoring (19.3).  (AP Photo/Mic Smith, File)
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Is Ben Simmons a franchise cornerstone player?

The LSU Forward the consensus No. 1 pick right now and some fans are dreaming of the next LeBron James-level player. Just like some fans see Duke’s Brandon Ingram and have visions of Kevin Durant. But in this podcast, Ed Isaacson of NBA Draft Blog says while there is a lot to like about these guys they also have glaring weaknesses and likely are not those kinds of cornerstones.

Isaacson and PBT’s Kurt Helin talk about the depth of the draft and some of the other players near the top, plus some sleepers to watch out there.

You can listen to the podcast below, you can listen and subscribe via iTunes, or you can check out our new PBT Podcast homepage, which has the most recent episodes available. More ways to listen to the podcast are coming soon.

PBT Extra: Why Bulls climb, Celtics stumble in latest Power Rankings

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The ProBasketballTalk Power Rankings came out Monday, and Jenna Corrado and I discuss some of the big movers.

The Bulls are up to the sixth slot because they have won five-of-six and may have found some offensive identity in the process. The Bulls have not been the model of consistency this season, to put it kindly, so I’m not going to say they’ve found their groove. Or that the internal squabbling is over. But they are taking steps in the right direction.

The Celtics fell to 12th this week because they lost to the Lakers and Nets in the same week. Boston has no business losing to those teams. That said, this is just a minor setback.