Brandon Knight and Terrance Jones may be making the right move.
In a season when a lot of other potential lottery picks — Harrison Barnes, Perry Jones, Jared Sullinger — are staying in college, this could be a chance to move up the board in a weaker year because next year will be a very deep draft.
Kentucky’s freshmen Knight and Jones are testing the NBA Draft waters —declaring for the draft but not hiring an agent. Which means any time before May 8, if they doesn’t like what they hears, either one or both can pull his name out and stay at Kentucky. But expect them to stay in.
Kentucky’s DeAndre Liggins also has put his name in the mix.
Knight is very likely a lottery pick, DraftExpress has him as the No. 5 prospect on the board. He is a 6’3” point guard who has good athleticism and NBA range on his shot (he hit 37.7 percent of his threes) but as a guard struggled with decision making for much of the season. Knight turned the ball over far too much.
When given a real test in the NCAA Tournament, he shot 6-for-23 going up against Kemba Walker and was outplayed. He has real NBA skills but he may be more of a scoring guard off the bench then a guy destined to run an NBA team. But the athleticism and potential intrigues teams.
Jones is a 6’8” forward who comes with an NBA body (and a very long wingspan) and that has him in the lottery, DraftExpress has him No. 10. He has shown skill on the wing, with the ability to take guys off the dribble or step back and shoot. Problem is, the shot needs work and is inconsistent. He is entering the NBA at a deep position with a lot of great athletes and there are questions if he will have the consistent energy to play that spot. Jones’ play also seemed to deteriorate as the season wore on, raising red flags.
Liggins is a 6’6” combo guard who would go in the late second round if at all. He is big and can defend, but the offensive end of his game needs work. Expect him to return to John Calipari.
Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.
Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.
The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.
That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.
Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.
Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.
The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.
The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.
It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.
Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.
The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.
Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).
Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.
If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.
Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).
With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.
Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.
Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.
The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.