On the court, the game is still the same. As Coach Norman Dale taught us, the basket is 10 feet high and the free throw line is 15 feet away from it, whether you play in Madison Square Garden or North Dakota.
On the court, Hasheem Thabeet showed some of the flashes of promise that made him the number two pick overall last summer during his D-League debut for the Dakota Wizards. After a slow start he finished with 18 points on 6 of 11 shooting, 13 rebounds and had a couple of big blocks. He showed a couple little offensive moves he never got to put to use in Memphis.
Off the court, the D-League and NBA are not the same at all.
Hasheem Thabeet grabbed his sneakers and began wandering around the visitors locker room last Friday at Tulio Arena in Erie, Pa. He had just made his debut with the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League, but he was still finding his way. Where was the equipment bag for his sneakers?
“Hasheem, this is the D-League,” Wizards coach Rory White told him. “And in the D-League, you carry your own sneakers.”
If Thabeet suddenly felt thousands of miles removed from the trappings of the NBA lifestyle, then there would be more. Oh, so much more. How about folding up his 7-foot-3 frame on Monday afternoon and flying coach from Fort Wayne, Ind., to Detroit … and then from Detroit to Minneapolis … and then from Minneapolis to Bismarck, N.D.? Farewell, charter flights.
This was exactly what Thabeet needed — some burn. He is only going to get his confidence up, to start to play better, if he gets in games. And that is hard in Memphis, where Mark Gasol has been good and the team needs to win to make the playoffs. There is no time for projects.
The D-League is all about projects. About making guys like Thabeet better. It’s also about commercial flights and carrying your own sneakers and long bus rides.
The Warriors beat the Rockets by 41 (!) in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Sunday.
Biggest playoff win in Golden State franchise history.
Biggest playoff loss in Houston franchise history.
Biggest playoff loss ever handed to any team as good as the 65-17 Rockets.
“At the end of the day, it’s one win,” Warriors forward Draymond Green said. “It doesn’t matter if you win by 40 or if you win by one.”
Maybe it matters more than Green is letting on.
Golden State was the 17th team to -win a playoff game by more than 40 points. Of the previous 16, 15 – including the last 14 – won the series:
The only exception came in my favorite playoff series of all-time, the best-of-three 1956 Western Division semifinals:
- Game 1: St. Louis Hawks 116, Minneapolis Lakers 115
- Game 2: Minneapolis Lakers 133, St. Louis Hawks 75
- Game 3: St. Louis Hawks 116, Minneapolis Lakers 115
So, teams to win a playoff game by more than 40 are 15-0 in best-of-seven or best-of-five series. Will the Rockets buck the trend?
They can make adjustments. Maybe Houston’s strong regular season – better than any above blown-out team’s – indicates a rare capability to recover from this. Andre Iguodala‘s injury hurts Golden State. Teams sometimes make historic comebacks from blowouts, including against the Warriors.
But that Golden State ran toppled the Rockets so decisively in Game 3 suggests the Warriors are hitting a gear Houston won’t keep up with.
The 76ers’ Ben Simmons, Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, Celtics’ Jayson Tatum and Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma were locks for the All-Rookie first team.
The final seemingly up-for-grabs spot? It went to the Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen, and it wasn’t close.
Here’s the full voting for All-Rookie teams (first-team votes, second-team votes, total voting points):
- Donovan Mitchell, UTA (100-0-200)
- Ben Simmons, PHI (100-0-200)
- Jayson Tatum, BOS (99-1-199)
- Kyle Kuzma, LAL (93-7-193)
- Lauri Markkanen, CHI (76-21-173)
Others receiving votes:
- Bam Adebayo, MIA (0-44-44)
- De'Aaron Fox, SAC (0-34-34)
- O.G. Anunoby, TOR (2-21-25)
- Jarrett Allen, BRK (0-18-18)
- Dillon Brooks, MEM (1-12-14)
- Jordan Bell, GSW (0-5-5)
- Royce O'Neale, UTA (0-4-4)
- Milos Teodosic, LAC (1-1-3)
- Zach Collins, POR (0-3-3)
- Luke Kennard, DET (0-1-1)
- Frank Mason III, SAC (0-1-1)
- Malik Monk, CHA (0-1-1)
- Frank Ntilikina, NYK (0-1-1)
- Semi Ojeleye, BOS (0-1-1)
- Sindarius Thornwell, LAC (0-1-1)
The first team matches our choices.
Dennis Smith Jr. and Josh Jackson are the only selections I’d quibble with. Those two were just so destructive with shooting efficiency and defense. To be fair, they were pressed into larger roles than they were ready for on bad teams. But if the goal is picking the rookies who had the best seasons (what I aim to do), Smith and Jackson didn’t cut it.
However, some voters give more credence to long-term potential, and Smith and Jackson both have plenty of that. Other voters are drawn by bigger per-game numbers, which Smith and Jackson produced in their larger roles. So, it’s minimally surprising they made it.
That one first-team vote for Jackson, though? That’s odd – and it was enough to get him on the second team by one voting point over Heat center Bam Adebayo.
Georgia Tech sophomore shooting guard Josh Okogie nailed the combine. He aced his athletic testing, posting some of the best quickness numbers in the event’s history, and impressed even more with his 5-on-5 play.
Now, it’s time to capitalize.
Okogie appears to be a borderline first-round pick. NBA teams covet versatile wings like him.
Just 19 until September, Okogie is younger than freshmen like DeAndre Ayton, Mohamed Bamba and Michael Porter Jr. So, Okogie looks better on the aging curve than the typical sophomore.
At 6-foot-5 with a 7-foot wingspan, he can defend three – maybe four – positions. He freelances a little too much defensively, but at least he’s active.
Okogie was probably miscast as a go-to offensive player at Georgia Tech. NBA teams won’t similarly lean on his deficient areas – court vision, ball-handling and finishing. He’ll probably be more efficient just spotting up and cutting.
The biggest variable in Okogie’s game is 3-point shooting. Will he reliably make NBA 3s? His form offers reason to believe, but not reason to be convinced.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee’s mayor is expressing concern about police conduct in the stun-gun arrest of Bucks guard Sterling Brown in January.
Mayor Tom Barrett says he’s viewed police video of Brown’s arrest over an alleged parking violation. He did not offer details but has said he has questions about how police acted. The video might be released this week.
Police have shown the body-camera footage to some local officials, including a closed session of a Common Council committee.
Brown was arrested in a Walgreens parking lot about 2 a.m. Jan. 26. Officers had been checking on a vehicle parked across two handicap spaces. Brown was not charged.
The Bucks signed the 6-foot-6 guard from SMU last summer in a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.