NBA Draft: PBT's post of picks, starting off on the Wall

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This is it, the NBA Draft post o’ picks. This is the place where you find out who picks Wall and Turner and Favors and this those European centers who shoot threes that always are taken late in the second round.

As each pick goes down, we’ll have it up in seconds and with a paragraph breaking it down. Or explaining to you who the guy is. So keep checking back. Or we’ll have to come find you.

1. Washington — John Wall, point guard (Kentucky): We’ve known he was going No. 1 since December (or earlier), his game made this a foregone conclusion. More impressively, he came off as composed and comfortable at the draft combine — he looks like a leader. On the court, his game is probably closest to Russell Westbrook, deadly in the open court and smart enough in the half court to hit the right guy. But his impact could be more Chris Paul — maybe the best point guard in the game. A guy you can build around.

2. Philadelphia — Evan Turner, guard (Ohio State): Another pick that is not a shock. He is most often compared to Brandon Roy, with Turner himself even saying their games are similar. But Roy is a better shooter, where Turner excels is in transition. DraftExpress notes he scores 1.27 points per possession in transition, crazy high number. This could mean a great show him running along side Jrue Holiday and Iggy. The Sixers could be a force in transition. That is, if new coach Doug Collins turns the horses loose.

3. New Jersey — Derrick Favors, forward/center (Georgia Tech): This is a pick for the future. With Brook Lopez locked in at center, Favors will be an oversized and athletic four that will be a matchup nightmare. Favors is also raw. Incredibly athletic, with a world of potential. But raw. However the Nets are rebuilding and have time to wait for him to mature, to grow along with the rest of the squad.

4. Minnesota — Wesley Johnson, forward (Syracuse): A three who can attack the rim and get out and run, but did a lot of damage in the half court in college (because he got favorable matchups, we’ll see how it goes in the pros where the defenders are bigger and faster). Johnson has a versatile game that will be able to blend in with what is now being built in Minnesota. He also can defend and will contest shots out on the perimeter because of his length.

5. Sacramento – DeMarcus Cousins, forward/center (Kentucky): This guy may be the biggest beast in the draft, a guy making the top four capable of regretting their pick. And paired with Tyreke Evans… Sacramento is to be feared. Cousins is an athletic beast on the block, with polished moves and some outside shots. He can board like mad.  Good footwork. He is the best big in this draft easily, the best overall maybe – if his head is on right. There were questions about his work ethic, then he showed up 15 pounds heavy to the NBA Draft Combine. Mature and focused Cousins is elite. Otherwise, this is your bust.

6. Golden State – Ekpe Udoh, forward (Baylor): Hard to say how he fits in with a roster and franchise in flux, but he can protect the rim and that is something they certainly could use in the Bay Area. Udoh can do more than just block shots, he can step out to the midrange, too. He had to create a lot of his own looks in Baylor, someone will do that for him in Golden State. And by someone we mean Stephen Curry. Should be a good fit. Whatever style they are going to play there.

7. Detroit – Greg Monroe, center (Georgetown): Monroe is the rare forward/center whose best skill is passing, and he brings with that a diverse and polished offensive game. Just a great basketball IQ to go with it. He’s going to have to learn how to defend in the post, he’s going to have to be more physical, but he can give you minutes now and can fit in any system.

8. L.A. Clippers — Al-Faroq Aminu, forward (Wake Forest): This was one of the other foregone conclusions, the Clippers have signaled this is their guy for a while. The Clips need an athletic three, they hope it can be this guy. He is an amazing athlete, he likes to defend, he can board, he can drive and draw fouls, he can work in transition. But he was also on our bust to watch list for a reason –he’s a forward who shot 45% in college and isn’t much of an outside shooter (24% on jumpers last year). He’s a bit of a tweener. If he can develop the skills of a three it’s a fit. Otherwise, well, it’s the Clippers.

9. Utah – Gordon Hayward, forward (Butler): Hey Knicks this was your pick. Just a reminder. Hawyard has a great college game but the question is can he get his shot off at the next level. But going to Utah may help with those issues – he has the understanding of the game and how to fit in  the motion system of the Jazz. The system will get him shots, and he can knock them down. But there are serious questions of if he can defend at the NBA level. If he can’t, Jerry Sloan will sit him fast. We had Hayward on our bust list — and he could turn out to be perfect for that list — but this may be the best place for him to land, and not have too much expected of him out of the gate.

10. Indiana – Paul George, forward (Fresno State): This is a guy who climbed fast when scouts started watching him up close. He’s listed as a 6’8″ forward but he is really more of a two/three on the court. He’s on our sleeper list because who expects a big star to come out of Fresno State right now, but his smooth game could translate well. He has to stop the turnovers, got to improve the handles, but he has a fantastic jumper good out to the arc and beyond. This is not a pick for right now but for a couple years from now, he has really bloomed in the last couple years and could be solid to special.

11. New Orleans – Cole Aldrich, center (Kansas): Hornets, you got yourself a solid role-playing big man. If he stays, rumor is he gets traded to Oklahoma City as part of a larger deal. He can defend and board, and score a little. Do not expect to be wowed by his athleticism, he’s not going to drop 20 very often. You did not get a lottery star player, don’t go in expecting that. But he can give you some defense on the second unit, do the little things. That should be enough to help.

12. Memphis – Xavier Henry, guard (Kansas): Henry can shoot the rock. Hit 41% from three last year and is good as the spot up guy. What I really like about him he is plays within himself, he is not great at going to the rim, so he doesn’t do it much (unless it’s wide open). Just a smart player and a good athlete, he works hard on defense. He can step in and be a role player, but he never is going to be much more than that.

13. Toronto – Ed Davis, forward (North Carolina): He came back to North Carolina for another year to… well, college is a lot of fun. Not sure what he got of it on the court. He has a good game in the post with nice touch but no face up game and it’s hard to be a super successful four in the league without that. He’s got an NBA body that will fill out more and can explode at the rim. He can finish lobs and on the break, but his he needs to get the midrange to really reach the next level. But he could grow into something good.

14. Houston – Patrick Patterson, forward (Kentucky): Three Wildcats in the lottery, that’s why they won the NCAA… oh, that’s right. Anyway, he has a really smart game around the rim, with maybe the best jump hook in college. He can step out and drain the midrange. Great hands and will fit in well with the system in Houston. He needs to develop any kind of left hand, and if he wants to see the floor in Houston he’s got to defend better. But he can come off the bench and get them points to start.

15. Milwaukee – Larry Sanders, forward (VCU): Good defender, works hard on that end. which will help him get some burn to start with the Bucks. This is a guy who shot up draft boards on potential – didn’t start playing a lot until seven years ago
. But he comes with an NBA b
ody and athleticism. But he has a lot of development to do. Could become a good role player, but you’ll be waiting on this one for a while, Bucks fans.

16. Minnesota – Luke Babbit, forward (Nevada): Babbit moved fast up the draft boards of teams once they saw him in combines and workouts. This guy can score, great touch, can score at the rim or shoot out to the arc – a 6-9 guy who can shoot 41 percent from three, and 90 percent from the free throw line. He’s not a great athlete at the NBA level, but he can give the team some scoring punch off the bench.

17. Chicago — Kevin Seraphin, forward (France): This will go to the Wizards in the Kirk Hinrich trade, but it feels like a reach, this is a super-athletic big man, and he is young at 20.  But he is also very, very raw. He is going to spend another year or two in France or the D-League, and he’s only been playing basketball for five years. He is like a lion’s lunch on the Serengeti raw. Which makes him an odd pick for the Wizards in the short term, we’ll see how it pans out beyond that.

18. Oklahoma City – Eric Bledsoe, guard (Kentucky): He has been traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, where he will be the guy off the bench behind Baron Davis. The other guard in Kentucky. And because he was forced to play the two next to Wall he it was not a great fit. If he’s really a small two guard he will struggle in the league, but if he can ball handle and get out and run it could work.

19. Boston – Avery Bradley, guard (Texas): Looks like the Celtics found their backup to Rajon Rondo at the point. Coming into this year, he was expected to be as good or as better than John Wall, but his game did not mature as much. He shoots well on spot-ups but does not shoot well off the dribble. He can defend, however, which will fit in with the Celtics no matter who the coach is.

20. San Antonio – James Anderson, guard (Oklahoma State): Best perimeter scorer in the draft… How do guys like this always fall to the Spurs. He was on our sleepers list because he is a guy who can score the rock any way you please — spot up, off the dribble or drive to rim (and draws fouls well). He is a fantastic athlete. Got to work on his defense, Pops likes the defense. But a good pick.

21. Oklahoma City – Craig Brackins, forward (Iowa State): He has been traded to New Orleans, which has far better gumbo than you find in Oklahoma City. He might well have been a lottery guy last year, but he went back for one more season, defenses really focused on him, and he faltered. The defenders are longer and better in the NBA, but he won’t be focused on as much and other can create for him (something that never happened at Iowa State). Scouts liked his offensive potential, though they questioned his commitment to defense.

22. Portland – Elliot Williams, guard (Memphis): This guys has classic swingman skills – he can run the break, and take guys off the dribble in the half court. He is very quick, and he knows how to draw contact. He also can defend. He needs to get a more steady shot, and most of all he needs to develop the ability to go right with the right hand. NBA teams can stop a one-handed player.

23. Minnesota – Trevor Booker, forward (Clemson): He has been traded to the Wizards (for picks 30 and 35, Minnesota gets 56 from the Wizards). Small for the size but strong. He is a good athlete and works hard, but his offensive moves will need polish for the NBA level. He was asked to take on more of the offense at Clemson last year and struggled to be efficient.

24. Atlanta – Damion James, forward (Texas): He has been traded to the New Jersey Nets. Very physical player at the college level, but that is a lot harder to pull off at the NBA level, and he may be a little small to do that. He is a good athlete who could run and play in transition. Needs to polish up the offense a little.

25. Memphis – Dominique Jones, guard (South Florida): He was traded to the Dallas Mavericks for cash. He can score at the rim, he averaged 21 a game for South Florida. He’s a slashing two guard who can get to the hole and finish. However, he has a questionable outside shot (31 percent from three this season) and some scouts question if he is athletic enough to player the slasher style at the next level. Still nothing wrong with taking a chance on a scorer.
 
26. Oklahoma City – Quincy Pondexter, forward (Washington): The guy has all the physical tools. Get him the ball on the baseline or at the pinch post and his first step gets buy guys. Washington used him a lot in isolation, that’s not how they roll in the OKC, he’ll have to get used to playing off the ball. He also has to be more consistent on the jumper. But he’s the kind of skilled athlete that seems to be all over the Thunder roster.

27. New Jersey – Jordan Crawford, guard (Xavier): He is actually being traded to Atlanta, where he could fit in very well. The Nets get the rights to Damion Jones, chosen by the Hawks at 24. Crawford was on our sleeper list because not only is he a very good athlete, he stepped it up in the NCAA Tournament scoring 29 a game. That’s a good sign.

28. Memphis – Greivis Vasquez, guard (Maryland): This is a guy a lot of teams liked at the end of the first or early in the second after he impressed in workouts. He can get out in transition and score, and Memphis could use the points off the bench. He’s a tall point guard who has a good feel for the game and can pass. Needs a jumper, needs to get stronger, but he is a guy the fans will love to watch play. He is passionate.

29. Orlando – Daniel Orton, center (Kentucky): The guy just looks like an NBA center, at 6’10” and with a wide frame. He did some defensive cleaning up for the Wildcats in the paint. He was a little hard to judge because injuries and the deep front line at Kentucky meant not a lot of minutes. But he can at least be a good defending/rebounding role player.

30. Washington – Lazar Hayward, forward (Marquette): Generally considered a second rounder, he gets in at the end of the first – and with it three years of guaranteed money. He’s a physical three who was forced to play the four (and even the five) in college. He’s long and works hard, but there are questions about his athleticism.

SECOND ROUND

30. Washington – Lazar Hayward, forward (Marquette): Generally considered a second rounder, he gets in at the end of the first – and with it three years of guaranteed money. He’s a physical three who was forced to play the four (and even the five) in college. He’s long and works hard, but there are questions about his athleticism.

31. New Jersey – Tabor Pleiss, center (Germany): This was Atlanta’s pick, but he is being traded to Oklahoma City. He’s young, 7’1″ and has skills. He will develop for a couple years in Europe but if he improves like he did this year in a couple years this could be a steal.

32: Miami – Dexter Pittman, center (Texas): Big guy with a lot of potential. He weighed nearly 400 pounds in college, got down to like 300 in college, and the Heat think if he can get to 275 he can do some damage. No real commitment with the second rounders.

33. Sacramento – Hassan Whiteside, center (Marshall): He was on our sleepers list because he has a 7’7″ wingspan and he is a fantastic athlete. He blocked 5.5 shots per game. But he has a million body with a 5¢ head. Rumors are hard to coach, real head case. A good risk for a Sacramento team with good young talent.

34. Portland – Armon Johnson, guard (Nevada): Really athletic combo guard but one who needs a good jumper if he wants to stick.

35. Washington – Nemanja Bjelica, forward (Serbia): He’s being traded to Minnesota. He’ll be stashed overseas for a couple years. Tall point guard guy.

36. Detroit – Terrico White, guard (Old Miss): Swingman with long arms
and a good athlete. He has the raw talent but there are a lot of talented swingmen in the Association. Questions about his desire are out there.

37. Milwaukee – Darington Hobson, forward (New Mexico): Good ball handling forward, kind of a point forward, with a real feel for the game. We’ll see if that feel cane make up for his lack of athleticism.

38. New York – Andy Rautins, guard (Syracuse): Shooter. Can shoot beyond the NBA three. Good chance he makes the team as the Knicks need guys who are inexpensive to fill out the roster they gutted to get a free agent.

39. New York – Landry Fields, forward (Stanford): In a sloppy season in the Pac-10 he was a guy worth watching. Shot well while being the focus of defenses, shot well with a hand in his face.

40. Indiana – Lance Stephenson, guard (Cincinnati): He can slash and score, but he suffers from watching a little too much Kobe Bryant. “Wow, look at that insane hard shot Kobe made… I can do that!” No, you can’t. Clean up the shot selection. But the guy can score and is quick off the dribble, he could be a good pick in the second round.

41. Miami – Jarvis Varando, forward (Mississippi State): Good shot blocker who needs to develop the rest of his game.

42. Miami – Da’Sean Butler, forward (West Virginia): Remember him? West Virginia’s best player who blew out his ACL in the NCAA Tournament? Tough break, and he probably can’t play until the All-Star break. But before that he was a first rounder, so maybe this is a steal.

43. L.A. Lakers – Devin Ebanks, forward (West Virginia): He has a chance to make the Lakers roster if he can prove he belongs. They have spots they want to fill cheaply, but they need guys who can help a team win a title, not rookie mistakes. Ebanks is a very good defender and not a good shooter (23 percent on jumpers last season).

44. Milwaukee – Jerome Jordan, center (Tulsa): NBA body, but seems to lack the fire to really play at the NBA level. If he proves everybody wrong, good pick for the Bucks.

45. Minnesota – Paulao Prestes, center (Brazil): Real big post presence who has put up good numbers in the Spanish ABC league. Which is no small feat. He could be a Marc Gasol kind of guy that looked good in Europe and his game translated.

46. Phoenix — Gani Lawal, forward (Georgia Tech): It’s hard to look that good next to Derrick Favors, especially when your games are similar but he is better at it. Good news: Lawal suffered in the post due to poor guard play at Georgia Tech. Not a problem in Phoenix.

47. Milwaukee – Keith Gallon, forward (Oklahoma): A poor man’s Big Baby… but those may be trendy right now.

48. Miami – Latavious Williams, forward (D-League): This is huge, the first guy ever drafted out of the D-League. I think down the line you’ll see more guys go this route, playing a couple years in the D-League rather than go to college. He was a Memphis recruit, couldn’t get the grades and found another way to the league. Now he’s just got to stick.

49. San Antonio – Ryan Richards, forward/center (England): He was on our second rounders to watch list because his athleticism and game wowed people at the combine. He’s raw, he may be in the D-League for a couple years (or be staying in Europe) but he could be a huge get in a couple years. Plus, if San Antonio drafts him you have a feeling they saw something nobody else did.

50. Dallas – Solomon Alabi, center (Florida State): Smart pick for the Mavericks. This guy has a high energy level, a Joakim Noah type of motor. Great shot blocker. Could have really fit in along a front line that needed more size. So they traded him to Toronto. Exactly, we’re not sure either.

51. Oklahoma City – Magnum Rolle, center (Louisiana Tech): He was traded to Indiana. Good athlete but whose game needs to develop, but at age 24 is that really going to happen? But OKC loves to draft good big athletes and see if it can work.

52. Boston – Luke Hanagody, forward (Notre Dame): Very awkward game that worked well for him in college but may not translate to the NBA. Not the kind of athlete that can cover that up. But he’s a big who can shoot and those guys sometimes get jobs.

53. Atlanta – Pape Sy, forward (Senegal): No, we really have no idea either.

54. L.A. Clippers – Willie Warren, guard (Oklahoma): Good pick. Everybody thought this guy would be a lottery pick just after the last draft, but injuries and a regression in his game and an attitude problem dropped him. But that’s a lot of talent, and worth the risk in the second round where you can just cut him if it doesn’t work out. The Clippers need a backup point.

55. Utah – Jeremy Evans, forward (Western Kentucky): He’s a thin version of an NBA small forward body, 6’9″ and long. But with no good outside shot. And he was off everybody’s radar. So who knows.

56. Minnesota – Hamady N’diaye, center (Rutgers): Being tall is good – 6’11” with a 7’4″ wingspan. 

57. Indiana – Ryan Reid, forward, Florida State: He is being traded to Oklahoma City. Physical power forward who likes to bang inside.

58. L.A. Lakers – Derrick Caracter, forward (UTEP): Guy with talent but has some character issues. That won’t fly in a veteran Laker locker room. Clean up or find a new place to play fast.

59. Orlando – Stanley Robinson, forward (Connecticut): Great pick this late because Robinson is an NBA level athlete. He needs a lot of polish on his game, and a better feel for the game. And to prove he is mentally ready for the NBA.

60. Phoenix – Dwayne Collins, forward (Miami): One of the better athletes in the draft and a guy you could see finding his way into that Suns bench mob. Maybe.

Anunoby hottest name at trade deadline… or would be if Raptors decide to trade him

Toronto Raptors v Phoenix Suns
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The Knicks are standing at the front of the line, but if the door opens Memphis Grizzlies, Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans will be among the teams trying to push their way through the door.

O.G. Anunoby trade rumors are maybe the hottest topic around the league in the run-up to the trade deadline, something sources have told NBC Sports but is not breaking news at this point, recent reporting by both Zach Lowe of ESPN and Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report have detailed exactly that. Lowe said on his podcast that the “entire league” is interested in the young wing. Teams are calling Massai Ujiri about Anunoby, but the Raptors have yet to tip their hand about whether they will be sellers at the deadline, stand pat, or become buyers.

Anunoby has not publicly or privately asked for a trade, but would “embrace a change of scenery” Haynes said on the podcast (it should be noted there are similar rumblings about a number of dispirited Raptors this season, the losing has worn on them). Haynes added that part of the motivation for the Grizzlies and Pelicans in this case is to keep the other team from landing him.

The Knicks are reportedly offering three first-round picks for Anunoby, and while it’s up for debate which of the seven first-round picks they control are in the mix — and how protected they are — that is now the floor for an offer to interest the Raptors. Lowe said Anunoby could draw a Donovan Mitchellsized trade package.

There are obvious reasons the league is calling, Anunoby is an All-Defensive Team level wing averaging 16.9 points per game, can finish at the rim and hit threes. It doesn’t hurt that he is just 25 and is locked in next season at $18.6 million.

Everybody wants to talk about Anunoby, but it’s all moot until Ujiri and the Raptors do.

Devin Booker reportedly could return to Suns next week

Toronto Raptors v Phoenix Suns
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The Phoenix Suns are 9-13 since Devin Booker went out with a left groin strain (which counts a few games before, but does not include, his attempted Christmas Day comeback, which lasted all of four minutes in a Suns loss). While they have bounced back lately as Chris Paul and Cameron Johnson returned, Phoenix still slid down to eighth in the standings.

The Suns need Booker to return — and they may get it next week, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker, sidelined the past five weeks because of a left groin strain, could return as soon as Tuesday against the Brooklyn Nets, sources told ESPN… Booker has been ramping up his on-court work, and is expected to join the Suns at the start of a five-game road trip that begins Friday in Boston and continues Saturday at Detroit.

Booker should be named an All-Star reserve Tuesday, despite all the time missed — he has been that good. Booker is averaging 27.1 points a game shooting 37% from 3 (a good 58.5 true shooting percentage) and is dishing out 5.1 assists per night. The bottom line, the Suns have outscored opponents by 5.1 points per 100 possessions when he is on the court this season and been outscored by 2.5 per 100 when he is out.

He returns to a team that needs a jolt and could get a couple — both the return of Booker to the rotation and a trade at the deadline to bring in depth. The Suns are likely to trade Jae Crowder at the deadline — the Bucks are considered the frontrunners but the Heat and Hawks are reportedly in the mix — which may not bring back what James Jones once hoped, but should give the team a little more depth.

If the Suns can get back to the team that started the season 15-6 they could make some noise in the West, but there is a lot for the Suns to clean up to get back to those days.

PBT Podcast: LeBron chases history, WNBA superteam and trade talk

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It’s one of the craziest weeks in the NBA — the week before the trade deadline is always insane — yet that is maybe the third biggest story in the league right now.

First, in this edition of the PBT Podcast, we dive into LeBron James chasing history and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record — what does that say about LeBron and his legacy? And his conditioning to be doing this 20 years into his NBA career.

From there, Corey Robinson of NBC Sports and myself dive into the biggest move in the basketball world this week — Breanna Stewart shaking up the WNBA and choosing the New York Liberty in free agency. She formed a superteam in New York, and there is another one in Las Vegas, and this is an opportunity for the WNBA to grow – and get charter flights for their players. From there, it’s Corey’s Jukebox and time to talk some Damian Lillard.

Then we into trade rumors from around the league and everyone waiting on the Raptors to open up the market.

You can always watch the video of some of the podcast above (the Christmas games segment) or listen to the entire podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please feel free to email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.

Three things to Know: Breanna Stewart is headed to New York, WNBA must seize moment

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Three Things To Know is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.

1) Breanna Stewart is headed to New York, WNBA must seize moment

The biggest free agent in WNBA history has chosen to form a super team in league history — and that’s a real opportunity for everyone.

Former league MVP and two-time WNBA champion Breanna Stewart has chosen to leave Seattle and play for the New York Liberty.

Just a few weeks ago, the Liberty traded for 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones to pair with Sabrina Ionescu, forming one of the best pick-and-roll threats in the league. Now add Stewart and her playmaking to a roster filled with quality players —  Michaela Onyenwere, DiDi Richards, Joceyln Willoughby, Kayla Thornton — and this is a team that’s a legitimate threat to win the WNBA title next season. This is a superteam.

New York’s move comes just days after two-time former MVP and WNBA champ Candace Parker chose to join the defending WBNA champion Las Vegas Aces with reigning MVP A’ja Wilson and quality players around her such as Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young and Chelsea Gray. This is also a superteam.

It’s not a coincidence Stewart and Parker chose to go to teams with newish WNBA owners willing to spend to win, Joe Tsai in New York (also the owner of the NBA’s Nets) and Mark Davis in Las Vegas (owner of the NFL’s Raiders). Two owners who came into the WNBA wanting to spend to pay players but also improve their experience — a new practice facility in Las Vegas, for example — and grow the sport that way. Owners with the vision to know they must spend money to make money — grow the league and its popularity and franchise values will skyrocket.

Stewart in her free agency pushed charter flights for players to the top of the list of ways to improve the league. Right now, the WNBA CBA requires teams to fly commercial. It’s part of a penny-pinching mindset from some quarters that sometimes feels like it will choke off the growing league. Charter flights for every team to every game — something common in professional sports and high-level college sports, including women’s college basketball — would cost about $30 million for the league.

There’s a divide among WNBA owners, not all want to pay that added charter flight cost out of their pocket, but the league has to find a way. As Corey Robinson of NBC Sports noted in the video above, this feels a lot like when his father — Hall of Famer David Robinson — wrote an open letter in 1991 to then San Antonio Spurs owner Red McCombs asking to fly charter to games because of the competitive advantage (McCombs agreed after the public pressure, now charter flights are just expected in the NBA).

Beyond just flights, this is an inflection point for the WNBA — it has to intensify its marketing, its outreach, and do whatever else it takes to grow the league.

Stewart, a recognizable face and name to any sports fan in America (even casual ones who only know her Olympics efforts) just formed a superteam in the biggest media market in the nation. They have a natural, high-profile rival in Las Vegas with their own superstars and big names. If you can’t sell this, you’re doing it wrong — this will be great basketball (and that’s not even mentioning Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury, and other good teams out there).

New York vs. Las Vegas could be the 1980s Lakers vs. Celtics moment for the WNBA. Stewart vs. Wilson can be a version of Magic vs. Bird — a rivalry and must-watch matchup that took the NBA off tape-delayed late-night television and vaulted it into prime time, putting it on the course for what it is now. This feels like that moment for the WNBA, but will WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert be able to grab the opportunity the way David Stern did? Can she get her owners to buy in the way Stern did? The WNBA must spend, it must take advantage of this opportunity. Chances and players like this don’t come around very often.

2) Timberwolves outplay Warriors in clutch, pick up quality win

Right now, this Warriors team just does not have the aura of its championship teams of years past. Even last year’s team didn’t enter the playoffs as the favorites in the West (that was the 64-win Suns), but we had seen enough to know they could be a threat to win it all with a couple of breaks. Which they got.

This year’s team… the Warriors had a 13-point lead on the Timberwolves Wednesday night with less than 11 minutes left and then got outplayed the rest of the way. While D'Angelo Russell was draining key 3-pointers, Stephen Curry, Donte DiVincenzo and  Andrew Wiggins were missing theirs, and Jonathan Kuminga was committing illegal screens. The result was the Warriors blowing their lead and the Timberwolves took advantage of it — with some critical plays by Naz Ried.

“I thought we had control of the game and then I thought we just kind of gift-wrapped it,” Kerr said postgame, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “And not to take anything away from Minnesota, I thought they were great. They took advantage of our mistakes and lack of execution. [D’Angelo Russell] got hot and guys made big shots, but we missed box-outs, we threw the ball away, we took really difficult shots.

“So everything we had done to that point to have control of the game, we stopped doing. We got what we deserved.”

This year’s Warriors are 13-14 in the clutch (games within five points in the final five minutes), with a -1.8 net rating. Make that a game within three points in the final three minutes and the Warriors are 10-12 this season.

The Warriors had won 4-of-5 before this and it felt like they may be flipping the switch, but then games like this happen and it gives you pause. These Warriors are not there yet.

3) Celtics put on a show, romp past shorthanded Nets

Boston has cooled off following its hot start to the season, but there are nights when they get focused, turn the burner back on high, get hot and remind everyone why they are the title favorites this season.

The Nets ran into those Celtics on Wednesday — Boston outscored Brooklyn 46-16 in the first quarter, hitting eight straight 3-pointers to open the game.

From there the Celtics romped to a wire-to-wire 139-96 win. Boston stayed hot from deep and hit 48.1% from 3 for the game (26-of-54). Jayson Tatum scored 31 points,  Jaylen Brown added 26, and both got to sit in the fourth quarter and watch.

The Celtics needed a win like this.

The Nets… life is tough sometimes without Kevin Durant. This is a game Brooklyn can flush and move on, even with KD it would not have helped much the way the Celtics were shooting.

ONE BONUS THING TO KNOW (or see): Give Tari Eason credit, he did not give up. That is persistence.