Blake Ahearn has been in the NBA Development League for longer than most people would like considering he’s played 149 games in the NBA’s official minor league since coming out of Missouri State University in 2007. He may have changed that this week, however, while starring for the hometown Reno Bighorns at the eighth annual D-League Showcase.
The 6-foot-3 guard scored 21 points and dished six assists in 32 minutes during a 107-72 blowout victory over the Iowa Energy in Wednesday evening’s nightcap. It was a breakaway dunk that caught the attention of the scouts in attendance, however, as the D-League’s leading scorer — known as an excellent shooter — showed he’s a bit of an athlete as well. Ahearn’s teammates weren’t bad either, as the blowout would lead one to believe, as Andre Emmett, Bobby Simmons and Terrance Thomas all scored in double digits while Sacramento Kings assignee Hassan Whiteside swatted four shot attempts and finished with a +28 in the +/- column before all was said and done on the third day of the D-League Showcase.
Ahearn wasn’t the only player to showcase NBA talents on Wednesday, though, as the entire day showed the depth that Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told Pro Basketball talk all about in an interview on Wednesday.
Gerald Green, the former first round pick best known for his dunking exploits during his time in the NBA, seemed like a much smarter player than most remembered while make 13 of his 17 shot attempts for 34 points off the Los Angeles D-Fenders’ bench in the first of four games on Monday. Dallas Mavericks training camp invite Jerome Randle scored 24 points for Green’s opponents, the Maine Red Claws, but it wasn’t enough as the D-Fenders pulled out a 106-94 victory.
- Booker Woodfox was excellent off the bench for the Texas Legends on Wednesday as he followed up a 22-point performance on Tuesday with 20 points off the bench in a victory over the Sioux Falls Skyforce. One of Woodfox’s teammates — former NBA center Greg Ostertag — stole the show though with 10 points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes.
- The Bakersfield Jam were led by an unlikely hero when back-up forward Juan Pattillo scored 33 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a 113-98 victory over the Idaho Stampede in Wednesday’s second game. The Stampede were done in when NBA assignee Armon Johnson, a former second round pick of the Portland Trail Blazers, made just one of his 13 shot attempts while turning the ball over six times in a loss.
The final day of the D-League Showcase tips off on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET with the Austin Toros taking on the Dakota Wizards.
Joel Embiid is a big man like we haven’t seen in some time. He’s both an interior force and a range shooter, and is one of the more talented 7-footers in recent NBA memory.
So it makes sense that the Philadelphia 76ers star leans toward former big men when it comes to discussing the greatest players in league history. While most are obsessed with the back-and-forth between Michael Jordan and LeBron James, Embiid told Jason Concepcion of the Ringer this week that he didn’t think either were the best player ever.
To Embiid, Wilt Chamberlain is the true GOAT.
“He’s not the GOAT. To me, you got Wilt Chamberlain. I mean he has all the records. They’re never gonna be beaten. I don’t see anybody getting 100 points in a game. That’s it, he’s the GOAT.”
Chamberlain doesn’t seem to be brought up in the GOAT conversation much anymore, but his prowess was legendary and it’s mistaken to say that he only played against smaller, less athletic white players.
It’s sort of cool that Embiid decided to choose a different player as is greatest of all time. Whether or not that’s true — or whether Embiid truly believes in his choice — is another thing altogether.
I’m not sure how excited I am to watch “Space Jam 2”. I think LeBron James is a slightly better actor than Michael Jordan, and the original “Space Jam” was nothing to shake a stick at. I’m the perfect age for Space Jam to have meant something to me, but having watched the film as an adult I can tell you it’s largely underwhelming.
Still, Space Jam 2 is set to film this summer and we finally have a confirmation of that fact from LeBron himself.
Speaking at All-Star Weekend, James told a crowd in Charlotte that they are indeed going to film once the season is over.
I think filmmaking has evolved, particularly animated filmmaking in the wake of things like Toy Story, Shrek, and other big franchises. There is no doubt that Space Jam 2 will be a better movie than the original. The director of the film certainly thinks so.
Kids will love it, and it’s exactly the kind of thing that James want to get involved in when he moved to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer.
I’m sure that basketball Twitter will have a steady stream of opinions when it comes out in theaters. Maybe I will catch it when it’s on at Netflix a month later.
Anthony Davis recently made mention that all 29 NBA teams other than the New Orleans Pelicans are on his list to land when he becomes trade eligible again this summer. Teams like the Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, and Los Angeles Clippers will vie for his services with the best packages they have the to offer.
But which of these teams will be long-term solutions for Davis, whose current contract runs out in the summer of 2020?
That is likely to be where the conversation around Davis shifts as we move into the spring. In fact, according to Shams Charania, at least one interested team isn’t on Davis’ radar long term.
Davis and agent Rich Paul severely overplayed their hand when it came to negotiating a trade request with the Pelicans as they tried to steer Davis to the Lakers before the deadline.
New Orleans remains firmly in control of Davis and any offers for him, although it’s possible the player could retain some additional influence by making it known that he would not re-sign anywhere outside of his preferred destinations. According to Charania, that’s the Lakers, Clippers, Knicks, and Bucks.
Still, a player’s status as a potential risk in free agency is affected by how good he is and how close to a championship the receiving team thinks they are. We saw a Toronto Raptors take a chance with Kawhi Leonard, who could very well leave this summer.
Might a team trade for Davis without the guarantee that he could leave in 2020? That seems possible, and I wouldn’t rule out anything wild happening in trade market come summer.
LeBron James spent just four years with the Miami Heat, grabbing two championships with pals Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. LeBron then left South Beach to bring a title to his native Ohio with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James is now part of the Los Angeles Lakers, an organization that Miami Heat president Pat Riley is innately familiar with (Riley was on the coaching staff of the Lakers from 1979-90). Riley was famously upset when he took the podium in the summer of 2014 after James had informed him that he was not going to come back to Miami.
We are approaching the half-decade mark from that interaction, and Riley appears to have cooled off a little bit.
Speaking with ESPN’s Dan LeBatard, Riley said that he felt disappointed because of how long a tenure that Heat team could have had.
I’m not sure if it’s fair to say that Miami you would have been a “10-year team”. Chris Bosh last played in February of 2016, and Wade hasn’t been a starter-level player for some time.
Still, it’s true that if LeBron would have stayed in South Beach that the Heat would be a perennial Eastern Conference Finals team and perhaps a real dynastic challenger to the Golden State Warriors.