Last summer, John Wall was the king of the Summer League pro-am games. Well, him and Kevin Durant. But Durant went on to nearly be king of the NBA regular season, as he had a monster year that cemented his status as the best pure scorer in the game today.
Report: NBA minimum draft age will not change in new CBA, one-and-done remains
While the NBA — representing the owners — and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) continue last-minute negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) before an opt-out deadline Friday night at midnight, one point of contention is off the table:
The NBA draft age will not change in the new CBA, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The NBA one-and-done rule will remain in place.
ESPN Sources: As NBA and NBPA pursue a new CBA ahead of tonight’s opt-out deadline, a deal wouldn’t include a change in the minimum draft age rule ending the “One-and-Done” era. High school players will still need to wait a full year beyond graduation to enter future drafts. pic.twitter.com/VL0UEZpBmT
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 31, 2023
The NBA one-and-done rule is unpopular with fans and college coaches (and, of course, players coming up). NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had worked to eliminate that restriction saying it was unfair, but he could not get it done.
There wasn’t much motivation from either side to make a move. From the players’ union perspective, lowering the draft eligibility age to 18 would bring more young players in to develop in the league and take away roster spots from veterans (and the union is made up of those veterans, not undrafted players). The union has suggested ways to keep veterans on the roster (possibly a roster expansion) as mentors, but a deal could not be reached. As for the teams, plenty of GMs would prefer an extra year to evaluate players, especially with them going up against better competition in college/G-League/Overtime Elite/overseas.
There are other impediments to a CBA deal, such as the details around a mid-season NBA tournament, the configuration of the luxury tax, veteran contract extension language, a games-played minimum to qualify for the league’s end-of-season awards.
If the sides do not reach a deal by midnight, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the league would likely opt out of the current CBA, meaning it would end on June 30. The two sides would have until then to reach a deal on a new CBA to avoid a lockout (although they could go into September before it starts to mess with the NBA regular season calendar and not just Summer League).
Timberwolves big man Naz Reid out indefinitely with fractured wrist
This sucks for a Timberwolves team finding its groove.
Part of that groove was the offensive spark of big man Naz Ried off the bench, but now he will be out indefinitely with a fractured wrist, the Timberwolves announced. From the official release:
An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) taken yesterday at Mayo Clinic Square by Dr. Kelechi Okoroha on Reid revealed a left scaphoid fracture. He will be out indefinitely and further updates on his progress will be provided when available.
A scaphoid fracture involves one of the small bones at the base of the hand that connects the wrist and fingers. Reid injured his hand on this dunk attempt against the Suns, he instinctively used his left hand to help break the fall and it took the weight of the landing.
🚑 Naz Reid reportedly suffered a broken wrist on this dunk attempt last night#Timberwolves #nbaitalia pic.twitter.com/uOcgd4W1Wh
— NBA News 24 (@nbaitalianews24) March 31, 2023
Impressively, and despite being in pain, Reid played through the injury.
Reid developed into the sixth man, spark plug roll for the Timberwolves behind starters Rudy Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns. In his last five games, Reid averaged 18.8 points on 59.1% shooting (including 45% from 3 on four attempts a night) and grabbed 5.2 rebounds in his 22 minutes.
Reid is a free agent this offseason. The Timberwolves want to keep him and have had talks with him, but he will have plenty of suitors.
His loss will be a blow to Minnesota, especially heading into crucial games down the stretch — starting with the Lakers Friday night (a team Reid had some big games against) — and into the postseason. Expect coach Chris Finch to stagger Towns and Gobert a little more, and he can turn to Nate Knight or Luka Garza off the bench, but their role would be limited (especially come the playoffs).
Three things to Know: Do the Celtics have the Bucks number?
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) Do the Boston Celtics have the Milwaukee Bucks number?
I am often the Drum Major leading the “don’t read too much into the regular season game” parade. The marathon grind of 82 games and the circumstances surrounding any single night makes it very difficult to draw conclusions that apply to a playoff series.
Take last night’s showdown of the top two teams in the East, which saw the Celtics blow out the Bucks 140-99. Jayson Tatum scored 40 while Jaylen Brown added 30. Both Celtics’ stars sat the fourth quarter because this one was decided.
HIGHLIGHTS: The Celtics went out and DOMINATED the Bucks in Milwaukee
Presented by: @TMobile pic.twitter.com/dvdN2qdmyn
— Celtics on NBC Sports Boston (@NBCSCeltics) March 31, 2023
There are reasons for the Bucks’ off night. Milwaukee was on the second night of a back-to-back (they dominated the Pacers on Wednesday) and this was the first game back from a four-game road trip (those first games home are notorious letdowns). In the Celtics’ previous game, they got crushed by a struggling Wizards team.
Yet, it isn’t just this one 41-point game that has me thinking Boston is just a bad matchup and better than Milwaukee.
The two teams faced off in a Christmas Day showcase game and the Celtics won handily, 139-118. The Bucks won the rematch on Valentine’s Day in overtime (131-125), but the Celtics sat Tatum, Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford — four starters — for that game.
None of those games matter if these teams meet in the second half of May, when the Eastern Conference Finals tip-off. The No. 2 seed Celtics are lined up for a harder road through the playoffs (they could face the Heat and then the 76ers). Could that take a toll on them physically before matching up with the Bucks?
Maybe it doesn’t matter. It looks like Boston has Milwaukee’s number this year.
2) Julius Randle out until start of playoffs. At least.
The No.5 seed New York Knicks appear headed for a first-round showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Knicks have a puncher’s chance to win that series.
But only if Julius Randle plays.
The Knicks’ All-Star forward and leading scorer will be re-evaluated in two weeks due to a sprained ankle, the team announced. That timeline has him being re-evaluated just a couple of days before the Knicks tip-off in the playoffs (either April 15 or 16).
Julius Randle sustained a sprained left ankle in last night’s game against Miami. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks.
— NY_KnicksPR (@NY_KnicksPR) March 30, 2023
Randle rolled his ankle going for a rebound and landing on Bam Adebayo‘s foot in the second quarter Wednesday night, and he left the game not to return. Tonight’s game against the aforementioned Cavaliers (in Cleveland) will be the first game Randle has missed all season.
Randle is playing at an All-NBA level again this season, averaging 25.1 points and 10 rebounds a game.
3) Cancel your plans: Must-watch NBA schedule Friday night
We’re approaching the season’s end and the schedule makers lined up some games with some weight for Friday night. It’s not like you had plans you can’t cancel. Here are the games worth watching (times Eastern).
• Knicks at Cavaliers (7:30, League Pass). This a first-round playoff matchup preview, except the Knicks will be without Julius Randle (hopefully he will be back in a couple of weeks for the games between these teams that really matter).
• Clippers at Grizzlies (8, League Pass). Russell Westbrook vs. Dillon Brooks, round two. These also are two of the top five teams in the West, and maybe the two teams in the conference playing the best ball recently (Memphis is 8-2 in their last 10, the Clippers 7-3). While Paul George is out with a sprained knee and Kawhi Leonard is questionable (personal reasons), both of them sat out for the first game in this two-game set Wednesday night and the Clippers won anyway behind a big Westbrook outing. The Grizzlies were without Jaren Jackson Jr., Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones in that first game, all are expected back tonight (the Grizzlies’ defense without Jackson was awful).
• Lakers at Timberwolves (8, NBA TV). Game of the night. Two teams in the middle of that moras at the bottom of the West (both teams are 39-38, but Minnesota has the tiebreaker coming in so is the eighth seed over the Lakers ninth), and both teams desperately need wins. The Timberwolves have been playing their best basketball of late (at least until the loss to the Suns), but will they have an answer for slowing LeBron James, and especially Anthony Davis (who remains the lynchpin to any Lakers’ success)? Matchup within the game to watch: Jarred Vanderbilt trying to slow Anthony Edwards is going to be fun.
• Nuggets at Suns (10:30, NBA TV). This lines up to be a second-round playoff preview (if both teams advance, which in this West is no lock). Does Denver have any answer for Kevin Durant? (Does anyone?) The Nuggets are on the second night of a back-to-back, but Nikola Jokić sat out the first game (a loss to the Pelicans) and is expected to play in this one. Can Deandre Ayton slow the two-time MVP?
BONUS THING TO KNOW: Brandon Ingram went off for a triple-double to lead the Pelicans past the Nuggets last night, scoring 31.
BI balled out in the Pelicans W:
2nd player in franchise history with multiple 30-10-10 games 🔥 pic.twitter.com/v06cuaK6h9
— NBA (@NBA) March 31, 2023
As expected, Alabama’s Brandon Miller says he will enter NBA Draft
This is far from a surprise, but it’s now official.
Brandon Miller, the Alabama wing projected as likely top-three pick, told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski he would enter this June’s NBA Draft.
Miller, a 6’9″ sharpshooting wing, has climbed draft boards over the course of this season as he has shown off more aspects of this game. He has good size, impressive athleticism and projects as a three or four in the NBA (two high-value positions). His skill set starts with being an elite shooter (39.9% on 3-pointers this season) who has the size to shoot over the top of many defenders, but this season showed off improved finishing at the rim and playmaking off the bounce.
Brandon Miller with the dagger dunk 🤯🔥pic.twitter.com/Kr8gqJ0VPV
— Alabama DieHards (@DiehardsAlabama) March 12, 2023
The development and growth of Miller’s game (while Scoot Henderson played well but missed a lot of 3s in the G-League) put Miller in the mix for the No.2 pick (Victor Wembanyama remains the clear No.1). Most teams likely still lean toward Henderson and his otherworldly athleticism, but whoever the basketball lottery gods gift the No.2 pick will have a conversation.
Miller made more headlines this season for his off-the-court troubles than his play on it. Tuscaloosa police say he brought a gun to former Alabama teammate Darius Miles, who allegedly used it to shoot and kill Jamea Jonae Harris. Miller was never charged with a crime and multiple front office sources told NBC Sports that unless something changes and he is, this will not impact his draft status.