The controversy created by that move will be discussed for days, and maybe longer depending on what David Stern has in mind for Popovich and the Spurs as punishment for resting his healthy stars against the defending champs in a game that was nationally televised.
But there was competitive basketball played in spite of the Spurs’ attempt at derailing things, and Ray Allen made sure the Heat wouldn’t be losing to a bunch of scrubs.
Down by one with under 30 seconds remaining, LeBron James dribbles into the paint and is momentarily stripped by the defensive combination of Tiago Splitter and Nando De Colo. With the defense collapsing to try to gain possession, LeBron ends up with the ball and finds Allen on the wing, who calmly drains a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down to give his team the lead for good.
This was remarkably similar to how things ended for Miami against the Cavaliers just a few days earlier, although this particular defensive lapse on Allen was more understandable considering that the ball was momentarily in play.
Still, this proves yet again why the addition of Allen was such a deadly one for this Miami Heat team. You almost have to double or play a scheme involving all five players with the ball in Lebron’s hands in late-game situations, but if you do, you leave one of the greatest shooters the game has ever seen wide open to beat you from the outside.
DeAndre Ayton will go No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns Thursday night. Marvin Bagley III probably goes second to Sacramento (but that’s not a lock).
After that, things get wide open in the 2018 NBA Draft. Teams value different players at very different levels this year, and there are going to be a number of trades.
Which makes putting together a mock draft for this year more random than a roulette wheel. Not that it stopped me. Here is my final mock draft for the 14 lottery picks. I present it without much confidence, but I’m throwing it out there anyway.
Report: Dewayne Dedmon opts in for $6.3 million with Hawks
There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.
Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.
If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.
Nick Young says ‘everybody needs to do cocaine,’ later insists he was joking
This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.
Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.