Three guys who didn’t get drafted but should have been

9 Comments

When you get to the end of the second round of the NBA Draft, you see a lot of “stash” picks — teams take players from Europe they think could develop but aren’t ready to come over to the United States. They stash them in Europe for a couple years.

There were some of those this year — three of the final 13 picks in the draft were American born — picks like Izzet Turkylimaz and Ognjen Kuzmic who may never see the NBA.

Meanwhile, some guys who deserve a shot go undrafted. I don’t just mean guys we were rooting for — I wanted to see Long Beach State’s Casper Ware get drafted and still think he’ll kill it at Summer League — but guys better than some of those taken who deserve a shot.

Here are just three guys who should have gotten their chance Thursday night and now will have to go the free agent route.

Scott Machado (6’2” point guard, Iona). Really surprised by this one. In an up-tempo offense (or as a change-of-pace guy off the bench) he can do damage. He plays fast and fans will love him at Summer League (and on a team next fall).

The Brazilian is a pure point guard with fantastic court vision that some scouts thought was second best in this draft (behind Kendall Marshall of North Carolina). He knows how to make plays, especially in transition. He’s not a great athlete by NBA standards but he scored at a pretty good clip in college (13.6 points per game on 49.5 percent shooting). Put him in the right situation and he can thrive.

Drew Gordon (6’9” power forward, New Mexico). He has a real NBA power forward’s body and he was a fantastic, aggressive rebounder at the college level. He’s not much of an offensive threat, but you’re telling me there are teams that can’t use a big who can defend and board?

Kevin Jones (6’7” power forward, West Virginia). Very interesting tweet from the brilliant Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress after the draft: “Kevin Jones learned a valuable lesson tonight. You don’t pick your older brother to be your agent. Hopefully not too late for him.” His agent/brother had said Jones had a first-round promise. I’ll just say when you’re a second round pick, an agent that turns teams off can have you falling fast.

Jones a little small at the power forward spot , especially since he did his damage in the post in college and that will be a lot harder for him in the NBA. But he’s got a huge wingspan, plays hard and has an outside shot. He led the Big East in scoring and rebounding. He’s a tweener but you would have thought one team would have given him a shot.

Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic undergoes surgery to repair leg, full recovery expected. Eventually.

Associated Press
2 Comments

As expected, Jusuf Nurkic underwent surgery on Tuesday repair the frightening leg injury he suffered on Monday night, a fractured left tibia and fibula that left his leg bending in a way that no leg should ever bend.

The good news is the surgery went as well as could be hoped, according to the team and Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Even with a successful surgery, this is going to take a long time to come back from.

As Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes noted, the only comparable injury like this in the NBA was Paul George‘s frightening leg injury with Team USA. George made a full recovery, but it was eight months before he got back on the court and much longer until he was comfortable enough to be the MVP candidate he is this season.

Nurkic had made a leap this season, averaging a career-high 15.4 points per game this season on 50.7 percent shooting. The advanced stats loved him — his PER of 23.1, true shooting percentage of 57, value over replacement player of 3.5, and other advanced stats are all career bests. He was the anchor in the middle of the Portland defense, using his big body to cut off drives on pick-and-rolls. He was serving as a playmaker on offense: When he’d set a high pick for Damian Lillard, teams would trap the guard, Lillard would pass to Nurkic, and the Bosnian had become a good passer or he just take it in and scores himself

All of that came after Nurkic signed a four-year, $48 million contract extension last summer.

His injury also devastates the Blazers heading into the postseason, where they could have been a tough matchup but have now lost a key piece of their puzzle.

 

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving to rest against Cavaliers, his former team

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Leave a comment

CLEVELAND (AP) — Kyrie Irving said returning to Cleveland tonight won’t mean anything to him.

He won’t even play.

The Celtics will rest rest the star against his old team, the Cavaliers.

Irving is averaging 23.8 points and the Celtics want to keep him as fresh as possible going into the postseason.

The Celtics have lost four straight and are fifth in the Eastern Conference entering Tuesday night’s game in Cleveland.

Irving played his first six seasons with Cleveland. The six-time All-Star demanded a trade following the 2016-17 season and was dealt to Boston. He hasn’t played in Cleveland since the 2017-18 opener.

Celtics center Al Horford (sore left knee) and forward Jayson Tatum (back contusion) could return Tuesday. Coach Brad Stevens said both were “questionable to probable” at the team’s shootaround.

Kris Humphries retires

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images
2 Comments

At one point, Kris Humphries was one of the NBA’s most-hated players. Because he married Kim Kardashian, I guess. I’m not sure his critics could articulate precisely why they loathed him.

Now, two years after last playing in the NBA, Humphries is retiring.

He announced his decision in The Players’ Tribune, also elaborating on his relationship with Kardashian:

Look, I should have known what I was getting into. I was definitely naive about how much my life was going to change. But the one thing that really bothers me is whenever people say that my marriage was fake.

There’s definitely a lot about that world that is not entirely real. But our actual relationship was 100% real. When it was clear that it wasn’t working … what can I say? It sucked. It’s never easy to go through the embarrassment of something like that — with your friends, with your family…. But when it plays out so publicly, in front of the world, it’s a whole other level. It was brutal.

I didn’t know how to handle it, because I never thought I was going to be famous in that way. I remember having this moment when I was getting booed so hard in Philly, and I thought to myself, “Why exactly are they booing me, though? Is it just because I’m That Guy from TV? Do they think I was trying to be famous? Is it because they think I disrespected the game of basketball?”

The last one killed me, because all I’ve ever wanted to be known for was basketball.

Humphries’ playing style was built for anonymity. He was a rebounding journeyman who spent 13 seasons with the Jazz, Raptors, Mavericks, Nets, Celtics, Wizards, Suns and Hawks.

But he had a knack for drawing attention.

As a kid, he swam faster than Michael Phelps. As he shifted attention to basketball, he tried to take on Michael Jordan’s persona (as detailed in his essay) and came across like a jerk. Then, he hooked up with Kardashian.

Their 72-day marriage will be the lasting memory of his career. It’s what exposed him to a far wider audience.

Maybe that’s not what he wanted, and he still had a successfully long NBA career. But that’s what he got.

D’Angelo Russell gets ball snatched from his hand in backcourt while not paying attention (video)

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Leave a comment

D'Angelo Russell has had an excellent season. He became a first-time All-Star. He’s a Most Improved Player candidate. He put himself in line to earn a lot of money.

But this wasn’t his finest moment:

CJ Fogler:

The Nets lost to the Trail Blazers, who were boosted this Maurice Harkless steal (but suffered a much bigger loss in Jusuf Nurkic).