Kurt Helin

Detroit Piston Introduce 2015 Draft Picks

Pistons’ rookie Hilliard has surgery on broken nose

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Detroit Pistons rookie guard Darrun Hilliard had surgery after breaking his nose playing pickup basketball last week.

The team says Hilliard will be fitted with a mask for the next three weeks and will continue all basketball-related activities. The 6-foot-6 Hilliard was drafted in the second round out of Villanova this year.

Hilliard played four seasons for the Wildcats, averaging 14.3 points in each of the last two years and shooting 39 percent from 3-point range last season. He is projected as a potential “3&D” guy in the NBA and his contract is guaranteed for this season.

LeBron, Curry lead top 10 highest rated in NBA 2K16


NBA 2K16 hits the streets this Friday night, and what’s the first thing NBA players check when they get the game? (Via the Associated Press.)

“My rating,” James Harden said.

“My rating,” echoed Anthony Davis, “and my jump shot. See how far I can shoot. That’s the first thing I do, every time.”

Harden and Davis should be pretty happy with their ratings. Here are the top 10 player ratings in NBA 2K16:

My first thought: Is that too low for Kevin Durant? If he’s healthy — and that’s the big if — they yes, it is.

My second thought: Is that too high for Carmelo Anthony? Maybe not in the sense that — again, if healthy — he can fill it up. But there may be limits to what he can do outside of just score.

Jabari Parker expected for camp, but Bucks stay cautious

Milwaukee Bucks v New York Knicks
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MEQUON, Wis. (AP) — Forward Jabari Parker is expected to be on the floor when Milwaukee Bucks training camp begins next week, though the team will proceed cautiously with its star returning from a left knee injury.

The extent of what Parker can do and how much contact he will face remains uncertain with the Bucks opening camp on Sept. 29 in Madison.

Parker was the second overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft. He was playing well before tearing his left ACL in December, ending his rookie season after 25 games.

Coach Jason Kidd said at a team charity golf function on Tuesday that Parker looked good, but that the second-year forward wouldn’t be rushed back.

Parker is a cornerstone on a team that made a surprise run to the playoffs last year.

Nets GM admits it was time to overhaul aging roster

Billy King

General manager Billy King built the roster that the Nets used to open the Barclays Center on the orders of Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian oligarch and franchise owner. He wanted a team that would contend for a title, draw fans Barclays, and grab the attention of New York. King spent money like he just won the lottery and recklessly traded away the team’s future picks to get that squad with Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett together. (That team did open Barclays Center, but it only made the second round of the playoffs, and the Nets have not captured the hearts and minds of their own borough, let alone the city.)

That team also was never built to last, and King admitted as much speaking to the media Tuesday, including Rod Boone of Newsday.

The bills for all that spending were coming due, and the Nets started last season to reshape the roster and try to lessen payroll. Pierce left, Garnett was traded, and this summer the big move was Williams agreed to a buyout at a reduced rate (which when stretched out will hit the Nets for just $5.5 million against the cap, for the next five years). The Nets listened to trade offers for Johnson, but he’s still on the team and likely stays for a while. They re-signed Brook Lopez and Thaddeus YoungThe Nets look worse on paper this season, but they feel confident there is a culture change coming that will help lift them up, or at least keep them level for now, while they avoid the luxury tax and gain future flexibility. Here is more of what King said, via The Brooklyn Game.

King said he originally approached Deron Williams’s agent, Jeff Schwartz, about the buyout opportunity….

“We explored the possibility of a trade and there was no opportunity there, and so we looked at other options,” King said. “And that was the best option, not only for this year and tax, but also for next year and creating cap space for next season as well.”

King tries to dance around something else with the Nets — they feel they have a much better, much tighter locker room without the gloomy personality of Williams.

“I don’t know (what the difference is),” King said. “We were able to I think gather some guys…For example, Joe and Jarrett (Jack) and Thaddeus (Young) the night of the draft texted me for Rondae’s number and Chris’ number and they reached out right away. When we signed Shane (Larkin), they wanted his number. So they’ve taken it upon themselves to reach out to each other. Rondae (Hollis-Jefferson) was the one that got them all to go the Fashion Show last week.

“So it’s something about the personality of the guys that we have now and they’ve done a lot more to really reach out to each other to try to bond more.”

We’ll see how that translates on the court. I’ve got a feeling not that well.

It will be difficult for the Nets to rebuild, considering all the draft picks they sent away, but at least now they have the flexibility to chase a few free agents. What they did this summer wasn’t pretty but it was necessary for the future.

Curry reads harsh draft scouting report in new ad


Stephen Curry is everywhere lately. He’s shooting socks with Stephen Colbert. Golfing with Barack ObamaWorking out a larger endorsement deal with Under Armour. Working on his ball handling and shooting. Taking the Larry O’Brien trophy back to DavidsonEven talking to me.

And in his spare time, he’s got a new deal with a website called CoachUp (sort of Angie’s List for 1-on-1 personal coaches for a variety of sports). With them, he created a new ad where Curry reads one of the scouting reports from when he was drafted No. 10 back in 2009.

At the time nobody questioned his shooting, but he was pictured more as a shooting specialist, not someone who likely would be a point guard in the NBA. And in a traditional offense, he may not be as great — but he is a perfect point guard for where the NBA is evolving. Which makes this ad work.

Also consider this a reminder that scouting and drafting is an inexact science (or, you can just read the latest Anthony Bennett news).