Da'Sean Butler tears ACL, another pick might plummet

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West Virginia star forward Da’Sean Butler tore his ACL during West Virginia’s loss to Duke in the Final Four. That’s typically a bad thing for your draft prospects.

It seems there’s going to be a litany of picks coming off injuries during the draft, which could make it difficult for teams to get a read on them, and forcing many of them to lower spots based simply on a lack of knowledge.

Injuries like Butler’s force teams to make evaluations on players without full workouts. While scouting departments and film will tell them the majority, there’s still a comfort in seeing what the boy can or can’t do. Likewise, it presents the uneasy question of if this is an injury that touches off more problems for the player.

This is where the importance of the D-League comes into play. Were the D-League better developed to manage injuries, Butler could be drafted, sent down to an affiliate, and eased into play. That long-term approach would help Butler get drafted, since he clearly has quite a bit of skill, even if Draft Express is right and his ceiling is a second rounder.

Instead, Butler will have to hope a team is willing to take a chance on him despite a significant injury or risk, not being drafted at all.

And yet he still has a better chance than any player in the championship game, save for Gordon Hayward of Butler, a virtual lock to follow in the footsteps of such great players as Travis Diener and Joe Alexander.

Physical therapist: LeBron James should have missed six months

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The Lakers initially called LeBron James day-to-day with the groin injury he suffered on Christmas.

He missed more than five weeks.

Maybe he should have sat even longer.

Karen Joubert, via Complex Sports:

Maybe LeBron returned too soon. This injury allowed that, even if it put him at risk of reaggravation if not fully recovered.

Maybe LeBron just healed especially quickly. Even among world-class athletes, he is an elite athlete.

Maybe Joubert is exaggerating. People tend to do that with LeBron’s body.

There’s plenty of room for interpretation, but it sure looked like LeBron was still hobbled.

What does this mean for LeBron and the Lakers going forward?

The pessimistic spin: LeBron did lasting damage to his body by returning so soon. This (failed) attempt to get the Lakers into the playoffs this season will undermine him in the future.

The optimistic spin: LeBron has still been excellent these last few weeks. If he gets fully healthy during his longest offseason in 14 years, he should be even better next season.

Kyrie Irving on whether returning to Cleveland means something to him: ‘Not at all’

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Kyrie Irving spent his first six seasons with the Cavaliers. He developed into a star with them. He won a title with them, even hitting the championship-winning shot.

With Irving’s Celtics playing in Cleveland tomorrow, Irving reflected on his time there.

Jared Weiss of The Athletic:

Irving is so clearly over the Cavs.

He was probably over the Cavs even while playing for them.

Lakers fan barely moves net while making halfcourt shot (video)

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The Lakers have had a rough season.

Last night went pretty well, though – especially for one fan.

The Lakers beat the Kings, and this fan swished a halfcourt shot to win $45,000.

CJ Fogler:

The Lakers need more outside shooting. Maybe they could turn to some of their fans.

Giannis Antetokounmpo drives past/through all the Cavaliers for dunk (video)

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is undeniable.

Watch this video. He’s the only Bucks player in sight on the court. All five Cavaliers appear. Antetokounmpo dunks anyway.

He dribbles past Jordan Clarkson then through David Nwaba and Tristan Thompson. Nik Stauskas and Brandon Knight are shading close enough to narrow his potential path. None of it matters.

Antetokounmpo scores inside unlike anyone anyone we’ve ever seen.