NBA Draft: Second rounders you hope your team gets

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Every year somebody gets drafted in the second round and by December we’re already asking how so many teams missed on him. Call it the Landry Fields effect.

It’s impossible to predict who that will be out of the 2011 NBA Draft, but we can take a few guesses.

Here are some second rounders to watch — and to be happy when your team drafts him.

Jimmy Butler, 6’8” small forward, Marquette: Everybody wants this guy to make it. He has one of the best stories in the draft — kicked out of his home by his mother at 13 and made homeless, living on friends couches (playing hoops at the local high school) until a family took him in, ala the “Blind Side.” Thing is, the guy can play and impressed teams at his workouts. He actually has a little Landry Fields in him — one of those guys who can do a little bit of everything well. The key is he can defend so that should get him minutes.

Malcolm Lee, 6’5” shooting guard, UCLA: Speaking of guys who can defend — other teams have been bringing him in to work with the elite guys in this draft, because they know Lee will make them work or it. He’s long and athletic and guys who come out of UCLA seem to blossom as a pro in a way they do not for Ben Howland. He’s got to improve his shot — he hit just 29.5 percent from three last year.

E’Twaun Moore, 6’4” shooting guard, Purdue: He is a favorite second round sleeper for a lot of teams. If you can get a shooter in the second round that’s a winner, and he has NBA range (40 percent from three last season). Another guy with a well-rounded game. He’s not an explosive athlete and a bit small for the position, but he just plays tough.

Malcolm Thomas, 6’9” power forward, San Diego State: He was overshadowed by Kawhi Leonard but Thomas is a smooth player and good athlete who can finish at the rim. He is long, can defend and is a good shot blocker. There are concerns about his size at the four, and he doesn’t have an offensive game outside the paint (his offense is pretty raw generally) but teams are intrigued with his potential.

Diante Garrett, 6’4” point guard, Iowa State: He wasn’t drawing a lot of interest during the season, but when he got into workouts (starting at Portsmouth Invitational) teams liked what they saw. He’s a tall point guard with a quick first step. His natural inclination is to be a facilitator, but he needs to improve his shot and cut down the turnovers. This is a guy that may spend a year in the D-League, but a few years from now may be a quality rotation player.

Report: Jimmy Butler-Timberwolves meeting moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles

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Jimmy Butler and Tom Thibodeau are meeting today, not necessarily for Butler to express his desire to leave the Timberwolves – but maybe!

This is a huge meeting with big ramifications for Minnesota and even across the league. Every detail is subject to inspection until we know more.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Butler, like many NBA players, spends his summers near Los Angeles. The meeting being held there could be for numerous potential reasons.

But it feels significant Thibodeau is coming to Butler’s turf rather than the other way around.

Without better options, Heat settle for sentimentality

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NBCSports.com’s Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.

Dwyane Wade took discounts from the Heat for years, seemingly expecting a larger windfall down the road.

It won’t come.

But Wade and Miami will enjoy one last dance together.

Wade is re-signing with the Heat on a one-year minimum contract he said would be for his final season, concluding a nostalgic summer in Miami. The Heat also re-signed local legend Udonis Haslem to another one-year minimum deal.

I wouldn’t expect much from either player on the court. If anything, Wade might prove destructive if the the 36-year-old uses his cachet to assume a larger role than he should handle. Haslem has barely played the last couple years, and that probably won’t change.

Still, there’s something to be said for proper sendoffs. Considering the high standards Wade and Haslem helped set for the franchise by winning three championships, this was unlikely to be a banner year in Miami, anyway. There’s value in honoring Wade and Haslem one more time.

Mostly, the Heat acted like a solid, stuck team this summer – because that’s what they are. That probably contributed to them not rewarding Wade for his prior sacrifice.

Yet, Miami eclipsed the luxury-tax line to sign Wayne Ellington, a helpful cog, to a one-year, $6.27 million deal. The tax isn’t assessed until the final day of the regular season, so there’s still plenty of time for the Heat to dodge it. In fact, I predict they will. But by at least temporarily exceeding the tax line, Miami gave itself its best chance of maintaining its level of play.

The Heat sure didn’t upgrade, though. They made no draft picks and didn’t touch their mid-level exception. Their only outside addition to receive a guaranteed salary was Derrick Jones Jr., who signed a minimum contract with a second year unguaranteed. The 21-year-old athlete is a worthwhile flier, but he sure isn’t a difference maker.

Neither are Wade and Haslem anymore – outside of our fond memories of the pair, and that counts for something. Just not enough to change Miami’s trajectory.

Offseason grade: C

Report: Jimmy Butler ‘isn’t dead set’ on demanding trade from Timberwolves

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Jimmy Butler says he’ll meet with the Timberwolves today – not yesterday, as initially reported.

The far bigger issue: What will happen in the meeting?

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

I’m told, though, that while Butler has serious questions about the direction of the franchise, he’s still willing to hear Minnesota out, and isn’t dead set on demanding a trade elsewhere.

Butler probably wouldn’t demand a trade. That gets players fined. Paul George laid out a far more likely roadmap last offseason: Butler could inform Minnesota he won’t re-sign next offseason. Left to their own devices, the Timberwolves would probably trade him.

But would it get to even that point? That’s the big question looming over the day. If Butler hasn’t yet made up his mind, that would give Tom Thibodeau a chance to convey a plan.

Of course, this isn’t entirely up to Butler, either. If Minnesota must choose between Butler and Karl-Anthony Townswho reportedly won’t sign his rookie-scale extension until the Butler situation is handled – Butler could get dealt regardless of what he wants.

So much could come to a head today, but apparently there isn’t an inevitable outcome. Is Butler leaning a certain way, though? “Isn’t dead set” on demanding a trade isn’t exactly a huge vote of confidence.

Marcus Smart posts heartfelt tribute to mother, who died Sunday

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Marcus Smart delivered one of my favorite quotes after the Celtics beat the Rockets last season:

Smart — when asked if he prides himself in being “a pain in the ass” — chuckled.

“I guess you could say that,” Smart said. “My mom might say that. But nah, I play defense with passion, and defense wins games, and that was proven tonight.”

A deep love is the subtext behind that quip. Smart put it on display again – unfortunately after the death of Camellia Smart, who had been battling cancer.

Smart:

Smart plays with such heart, passion and toughness. If his mother were his role model, he honors her every time he takes the court.