Kurt Helin

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PBT Extra: NBA Draft Lottery losers? Sorry New York.

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It was pretty amazing how much to form the NBA Draft Lottery held this year — only two teams moved. The Lakers went up a couple spots…

And the New York Knicks fell a couple spots. Which puts them on top of the list of NBA Draft Lottery losers, as Jenna Corrado and I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

Falling to No. 4 should not be that big a deal for the Knicks in that they still likely get to draft Emmanuel Mudiay — as long as they don’t sucumb to the pressure to trade the pick for a quick fix. The Knicks are rebuilding, they need young talent. So unless this trade were to net more young talent than is being sent out, it’s a bad idea.

But this is the Knicks, there is a long and storied history of going for the quick fix. It’s something to watch.

End of an era: David Letterman had some great NBA, sports moments

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 02:  David Letterman speaks onstage at SeriousFun Children's Network 2015 New York Gala: An Evening of SeriousFun Celebrating the Legacy of Paul Newman at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on March 2, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for SeriousFun Children's Network)
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I’m going to miss David Letterman.

Admittedly, I didn’t watch as much of him in recent years as I did in my youth, but I always related to his irreverent sense of humor. The Top 10 list was iconic and ahead of it’s time, but it was things like “what happens if we throw a bunch of watermelons off the top of a building” that just worked when he did it.

Letterman also had some brilliant sports moments.

Joe Posnanski summed it up best as only he can at NBCSportsWorld.com.

Every so often, one of the writers would pitch a really obscure sports joke to David Letterman for the show. He always liked those kinds of sports jokes, especially if they involved one of his cherished Indiana Pacers of the old American Basketball Association or some little-known baseball player or something to do with 1950s wrestling.

“He’d laugh,” says Justin Stangel, who, with his brother Eric, served as Letterman’s head writers for 14 years, from 1998 to 2013. “Then he’d say, ‘Sure, nobody’s going to get it. But that’s fine.’”

“Probably three people thought it was hilarious,” Eric says. “But those three people thought it was REALLY hilarious.”

In a way, that tidbit explains why David Letterman meant so much to me and everybody I knew. Letterman was one of us. And by “one of us” I mean David Letterman was (and is) a sports fan, deep down, through and through. He’s not a “celebrity” sports fan — you know, the kind who is seen at places or who might hold his own in a 30-second sports conversation.

No, Letterman is a sports fan, a you-and-me sports fan, the sort of guy who cares too much, the sort of guy who will come up with all sorts of theories about Tom Brady and deflated footballs, the sort of guy who would rag Eric Stangel endlessly whenever his beloved San Diego Chargers lost.

Over at Sportsworld we’ve also compiled a list of the best sports moments from Letterman, complete with videos.

Letterman had some brilliant basketball moments — like when David Stern read the “Top 10 Things I learned as Commissioner.”

No. 10: Dr. J. is not a licensed physician.

But my personal favorite was just sending Steve Nash to the 2009 NBA Finals as a correspondent.

Kings’ executive Vlade Divac: “DeMarcus is untradeable”

Atlanta Hawks v Sacramento Kings
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Kings’ coach Goerge Karl has fueled the hopes and dreams of Celtics fans — and a lot of other fan bases — when he said that he’s never had a player that is untradeable.

Did that mean DeMarcus Cousins could be available? Trade rumors started to fly on Celtics message boards and across NBA fandom. Cousins is as good a traditional big man as there is in the game and is a franchise cornerstone kind of piece.

Which is why the Kings are not going to trade him.

Those aren’t my words, they are the words of Kings’ decision maker Vlade Divac on SiriusXM NBA Radio Tuesday night before the Draft Lottery (Divac was in New York to represent the Kings at the lottery).

“Well, I think, you know, Coach kind of step it up further than he should and, of course, everybody has their opinion but right now, if we’re talking about today, yeah, DeMarcus is untradeable.  He’s a guy who we’re going to try to build around and see where he’s going to take us.”

If you want to keep your trade dreams alive Boston, you can rightly note that no GM would say “this guy is on the trade block” even if he were. It’s about leverage.

That said, this isn’t the first time word has leaked out that the Kings planned to keep Cousins.

Kings’ ownership and Divac see Cousins for what he is, a cornerstone piece. If you’re going to move him, it’s going to take a lot more than the No. 16 pick and some prospects to get the job done — you’ll demand another young, foundational piece in return. And even then they might balk.

Cousins has three seasons left on his deal in Sacramento, the guy making the decisions wants to keep him, and frankly he can work well in Karl’s system — Cousins is exceptional when he runs the floor. It’s just getting him to do it consistently that’s the challenge (ask Coach K of Team USA).

 

Everything was falling for Stephen Curry on way to 34 points (VIDEO)

Stephen Curry, Dwight Howard
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You know you’re having a good night when your shot chart looks like this:

source:

Stephen Curry looked like an MVP as he put up 34 points on 22 shots to lead Golden State to a Game 1 win Tuesday night.

Everything was falling for him — he was 6-of-9 on contested shots. The bigger concern for the Rockets should be that Curry had 13 uncontested looks (hitting seven) — they can’t give him that many open looks, they’re lucky he didn’t put up more points.

Dwight Howard on Game 2: “Hopefully I can play”

Dwight Howard
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It happened almost exactly halfway through the first quarter: Josh Smith tried to post up Klay Thompson, spun to the middle, and put up and awkward shot as he fell — right into Dwight Howard’s knee.

Howard left the game and went back to the Rockets’ locker room, but returned by the end of the first quarter.

However, he was never the same — he didn’t move as well, and the Warriors took advantage. Because of Howard Houston led the points in the paint battle 20-6 after the first quarter. The last three quarters the Warriors won the points in the paint race 44-32. What’s more, the injury allowed the Warriors to play small, with Draymond Green at the five, which was the most effective lineup for Golden State. The Warriors went on to win 110-106 to take a 1-0 series lead.

Howard’s status for Game 2 Thursday is up in the air.

If he can’t play, it takes away one of the weapons Houston needs this series — they need him to own the paint on both ends of the floor.

What the Rockets actually need is the active, aggressive Howard from the Clippers series. If he plays but is a shell of himself, it’s another advantage for a Warriors team already loaded with them.