Tag: LeBron James

2015 NBA Draft

NBA rookie survey suggests Karl-Anthony Towns over Jahlil Okafor was a mistake


Most NBA teams would have picked Karl-Anthony Towns over Jahlil Okafor with the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. I would have. The Timberwolves did.

But a plurality of NBA rookies prefer Okafor, who went No. 3 to the 76ers.

Two responses in NBA.com’s annual rookie survey reveal that:

Who will be the 2015-16 Rookie of the Year?

1. Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia — 41.9 percent

2. Stanley Johnson, Detroit — 19.4 percent

3. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota — 12.9 percent

T-4. Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver — 9.7 percent

D’Angelo Russell, L.A. Lakers — 9.7 percent

Others receiving votes: Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento; Trey Lyles, Utah

Which rookie will have the best career?

Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia — 24.1 percent

2. Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota — 17.2 percent

T-3. Justin Anderson, Dallas — 13.8 percent

Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver — 13.8 percent

5. Stanley Johnson, Detroit — 8.0 percent

6. Sam Dekker, Houston — 6.9 percent

Others receiving votes: Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento; Bobby Portis, Chicago; Kelly Oubre, Washington; Kristaps Porzingis, New York; D’Angelo Russell, L.A. Lakers; Rashad Vaughn, Milwaukee

Picking Okafor for Rookie of the Year doesn’t necessarily mean he should have gone No. 1. The former Duke center is exceptionally polished offensively, and he should fill a big role on the lowly 76ers.

But the “best career” question is essentially asking who should have gone No. 1 – especially considering Towns and Okafor play the same position. Perhaps, a majority of respondents who took a third candidate would have taken Towns over Okafor, changing results of a run-off race. But with the information we have, plurality rules.

The survey also includes other interesting (Mavericks’ Justin Anderson as most athletic), unsurprising (Suns’ Devin Booker as best shooter) and surprising (Rondae Hollis-Jefferson as best defender) responses. Willie Cauley-Stein went No. 6 to the Kings largely based on his ability to guard the interior and exterior. If he’s not elite defensively – and his peers don’t rate him that way, ranking him fourth with 5.9% of votes – questions about his offense and rebounding become more significant.

For the second straight year, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James ranked 1-2-3 as rookies’ favorite players.

Of course, don’t take these responses as gospel. Despite 13.8% of respondents – tied for third most – picking Anderson to have the best career, nobody voted for him as the draft’s biggest steal. How you can think the No. 21 pick will have the best career yet isn’t the draft’s biggest steal is beyond me.

Carmelo Anthony: LeBron James, Chris Paul and I talk ‘all the time’ about winning gold medal in 2016 Olympics

NBA All-Star Game 2015

LeBron James has a spot on the 2016 Olympic team if he wants it, but he has been mum on whether he wants it.

Carmelo Anthony offers a clue about LeBron’s and Chris Paul’s desire to play in Rio.

Melo, via Marc Berman of the New York Post:

“We talk about it all the time,’’ Anthony said of winning another gold medal with James and Paul. “Just about how we want to go out and end it the next year with the Olympics, just how much we want to take from this experience. I’m going on four [Olympics], LeBron is going on four. Paul going for three. We’re connected by the hip.’’

LeBron, Melo and Paul won gold medals in 2012 and 2008, and LeBron and Melo took bronze in 2004.

But Melo will be 32 and LeBron and Paul 31 in 2016. LeBron’s Cavaliers will very likely make a long playoff run this season. Paul’s Clippers are good enough to, though the tough Western Conference makes it less likely. Melo… the Knicks will probably give him a longer break before Rio.

I’m sure they all like the idea of playing in the 2016 Olympics. The more enthusiastic they are about it now, the more likely they follow through. But Rio is still a long way off, and aging goes only one direction.

Michael Jordan doesn’t like people seeing him wearing his reading glasses

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is supremely confident.

It was a defining characteristic of his great playing career, and it obviously hasn’t dissipated with age.

Who would he take 1-on-1 against LeBron James in their primes? Himself, of course.

What about against current Hornets now? Himself there, too.

But, testifying in a lawsuit over use of his image, Jordan apparently revealed something that makes him self-conscious.

Associated Press:

Jordan, 52, displayed an amused discomfort with having to wear reading glasses while on the witness stand, jokingly saying “don’t look” when he put them on to read a page he was handed.

ABC 7’s report includes a courtroom sketch of Jordan in glasses:

Economist: Michael Jordan makes more annually in endorsements than any current NBA player

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan and LeBron James have sparked a conversation about who’d win a 1-on-1 game between the two in their primes.

Jordan took himself, as did LeBron.

But when it comes to endorsement money, it’s no contest.

Jordan sets a high bar for any potential sponsors, and they’re obviously willing to meet his lofty demands.

Associated Press:

An expert in sports economics says Michael Jordan’s endorsement income has grown and still eclipses that of current NBA players, including LeBron James.

Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist testified Monday in federal court in Chicago

He says Jordan’s endorsement income was $75.5 million in 2012.

Here are the NBA’s top endorsers in the last year, according to Forbes:

1. LeBron James – $44 million

2. Kevin Durant – $35 million

3. Kobe Bryant – $26 million

It’s quite remarkable that Jordan – 12 years after his last retirement as a player – collects so much sponsorship money. He’s a marketing force unlike any other.

Shaq would take Jordan over LeBron in hypothetical one-on-one matchup

Michael Jordan, LeBron James

Ask Michael Jordan, and he’ll say at his peak “no question” he could beat LeBron James in a game of one-on-one.

Ask LeBron and he will bet on himself.

If either of those answers feels like a surprise, then you were probably caught off guard by the ending of the movie “Titanic.”

What we need is a neutral third party to weigh in on this meaningless debate… how about Shaquille O’Neal? Is there a better arbiter of the ludicrous? Shaq was in France eating butter-laden foods and was asked about the hypothetical matchup, as reported by the Agence France-Presse (hat tip Dan Devine of Ball Don’t Lie):

O’Neal, visiting Hong Kong to promote an energy drink, faced both Jordan and James in their prime and when asked who would win a hypothetical match-up, he didn’t hesitate.

“Mike,” said O’Neal, winner of four NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers (2000-2002) and the Miami Heat (2006). “I think you have to go with a young Jordan every time.” […]

“It would be an interesting game,” said O’Neal. “Young LeBron was more like (Lakers Hall of Famer) Magic Johnson. He was sort of like Magic with Jordan’s abilities. He liked to pass, and he liked to get it up.

“But Mike was Mike. He was just special, like no one else. He always did things no one else could do, and things you couldn’t compare to anyone else. So he was special, and he’d win.”

What both men do well, but Jordan did better than anyone, is hit difficult, contested shots. Sort of like Stephen Curry of late, Jordan was a guy who made bad shots look good. LeBron would be a bull that even Jordan would struggle to stop.

It would be fun to see. After that, just beat each other up in the comments over who would win, because everyones’ opinions matter as much as Shaq’s.