Tag: Charlotte Bobcats

Tennessee v Florida

Two years removed from being a top recruit, Florida’s Chris Walker declares for NBA draft


Six of the consensus top 10 recruits in 2013 are in the NBA (Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh and James Young). Three more already declared for the draft (Dakari Johnson and the Harrison twins).

The 10th will also turn pro (Florida’s Chris Walker):

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Walker possesses many of the same traits he did coming out of high school – highly athletic but unrefined game. That’s enough to make him an elite recruit, but not a top draft prospect.

The 6-foot-10 power forward might not even get drafted, though it’d hardly be surprising if a team took a flyer in the second round. He’s still just 20, after all. But at this point, Walker has more name recognition than high regard among scouts.

The question of why Walker didn’t develop better at Florida will get asked by teams considering draft him, but also by teams considering hiring his former coach, Florida’s Billy Donovan.

Kawhi Leonard wins Defensive Player of the Year despite more first-place votes for Draymond Green

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors

Kawhi Leonard didn’t need long to make an impression.

Leonard returned from an extended injury-caused absence in mid-January, and he terrorized opponents. For the last half of the season, Leonard looked like the NBA’s best defender – hounding top perimeter scorers, switching inside, playing passing lanes and getting key rebounds.

That swayed voters to give him Defensive Player of the Year over presumptive favorite Draymond Green, whose versatility helped the Warriors play the league’s best defense.

I would have rewarded Green’s overall impact – and voters game him more first-place votes than they did Leonard – over Leonard’s better defense in fewer minutes. But this is hardly a bad call. Leonard played awesome, and to enough voters, he played enough.

Doc Rivers’ lobbying paid off with DeAndre Jordan finishing a higher-than-he-deserves third.

Here’s the full voting with player, team (first-place votes, second-place votes, third-place votes, points):

1. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio (37-41-25-333)

2. Draymond Green, Golden State (45-25-17-317)

3. DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers (32-25-26-261)

4. Anthony Davis, New Orleans (11-15-7-107)

5. Rudy Gobert, Utah (2-4-11-33)

6. Andrew Bogut, Golden (0-6-13-31)

7. Tony Allen, Memphis (1-4-12-29)

8. Tim Duncan, San Antonio (1-1-4-12)

9. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte (0-2-3-9)

10. Jimmy Butler, Chicago (0-2-1-7)

10. Marc Gasol, Memphis (0-2-1-7)

12. Joakim Noah, Chicago (0-1-1-4)

13. LeBron James, Cleveland (0-0-3-3)

13. Trevor Ariza, Houston (0-1-0-3)

15. Patrick Beverley, Houston (0-0-1-1)

15. DeMarre Carroll, Atlanta (0-0-1-1)

15. Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia (0-0-1-1)

15. Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers (0-0-1-1)

15. Hassan Whiteside, Miami (0-0-1-1)

Al Jefferson says he’s “unlikely” to opt out of his contract this summer

Al Jefferson

When Al Jefferson signed a three-year, $41 million contract with the (at the time) Charlotte Bobcats in the summer of 2013, it looked like a classic case of a player cashing out. The Bobcats were coming off a terrible season and didn’t exactly have a history of attracting marquee free agents, so they had to overpay to get somebody like Jefferson. The move paid off with their second playoff appearance in franchise history in 2014, but both the Hornets and Jefferson took a step back this season. Which is why this news from Thursday’s exit interviews comes as no surprise:

Jefferson’s three-year deal came with a two-year opt out. If it had been a two-year deal with a one-year out, he might have used it after a career year in his first season in Charlotte. But after a down year in which he missed 17 games and averaged his fewest rebounds per game since 2006, why wouldn’t he want to take the guaranteed money and ride out the last year of his contract with the Hornets?

Opting in also puts Jefferson in a prime position to take advantage of the huge jump in the salary cap that’s expected next summer, when the NBA starts to see its influx of money from the new television deal. Teams will have cap space ready to make a run at Kevin Durant, and when most of them miss out, Jefferson is a prime candidate to be somebody’s consolation prize.