Tag: Minnesota Timberwolves

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.

Jose Calderon implies Clippers and Timberwolves are interested in him

Jose Calderon, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

The Knicks are reportedly interested in Jamal Crawford and Ricky Rubio.

Trading for either guard would almost certainly mean dealing Jose Calderon, New York’s only player making more than a minimum salary it can trade right now without his permission.

It’s practically impossible to match salaries for Crawford ($5,675,000) or Rubio ($12.7 million) without Calderon’s $7,402,812.

But do the Clippers or Timberwolves want Calderon?

He implies yes.

Maybe Calderon knows something. If the Knicks are shopping him, they might extend him the courtesy of clueing him in on trade talks.

But it’s just as possible Calderon is tired of seeing his name in trade rumors, listed as a piece New York wants to dump. He might just want to change the public perception of him, whether or not facts support it.

Calderon’s $7,708,427 salary for 2016-17, when he’s 35, would be a burden for either the Clippers or Timberwolves. But it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker.

Calderon would be a better version of Pablo Prigioni as a reliable, non-Austin Rivers option behind Chris Paul at point guard for the Clippers. But Calderon would be more expensive, and the Clippers are already in the luxury tax. If they see him as the missing piece to a championship, though, that’s a small price to pay.

In Minnesota, Calderon would be a cheaper and older replacement for Rubio until Zach LaVine Tyus Jones is ready. The Timberwolves already have that in Andre Miller, though. But if the Knicks send back better assets – draft picks, young players – Calderon’s salary would probably be necessary to facilitate a deal.

Would the Clippers or Timberwolves take Calderon in a trade? Probably. Are they actually interested in him? That’s a much tougher question to answer.

Glen Davis says Doc Rivers has changed as a coach, DeAndre Jordan should get more touches

Glen Davis

Big Baby is still available.

Glen Davis is still out there on the free agent market, the Clippers and Bucks have reportedly had conversations with him. Or, he could just go play overseas.

But with no imminent deal, he was very honest when he appeared on the “Gio and Jones” show on CBS Sports Radio in the morning, with Gregg Giannotti and Brian Jones. He talked about Donald Sterling and playing for the Clippers, but maybe the most interesting thing is how Doc Rivers has had to coach Clippers differently than he did the Celtics.

“I think he’s changed as a coach. In Boston, I think when you have players like Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, so experienced and understanding of policing. He has to do more coaching with these guys, with Blake (Griffin) and DeAndre (Jordan) and Chris (Paul). Kind of walk them through the process of understanding championship basketball. You got to kind of change your tone and the way you talk to these younger guys. So he’s changed for the betterment of the team so he can get everybody on the same page.”

Is Davis saying anything here we didn’t already know? Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan (as well as the rest of the Clippers) are talented but inexperienced. Rivers was hired in part to take them to the next level, and he has to play to their personalities rather than what Boston needed. Coaching is not one size fits all.

Which brings us to when Davis discussed the Jordan/Paul dynamic, and why Jordan was unhappy enough with the Clippers to agree to play for Dallas (before changing his mind).

It was a false reality,” Davis said of the reports of a CP3/Jordan feud. “It was like they had problems, but they didn’t have problems. We can hang out, have a good time off the court, it just some players rub each other the wrong way. I think that’s what it was and they never really talked about it until DeAndre said ‘I’m going to go to Dallas….’

“I thought D’Andre needed more attention, because he’s a guy who dominates on both sides of the ball. He doesn’t have no plays run for him, and he gets every rebound, how about we give him some confidence? Throw him a couple bones down there and see if he can get us a bucket. He can’t shoot free throws, but he’s getting people in the bonus, he’s making things happen out there. So you gotta show him some love because he’s a vital player.”

Davis said the Paul/Jordan dynamic was part of the problem in the Houston series, when it all started to come to a head as the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead and were eliminated.

It’s one of the things the Clippers need to sort out if they are ging to be serious title contenders next season. On paper, they fixed the depth problem, but chemistry remains the question. And it’s one the Clippers can’t answer until the playoffs.