Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like Jack Bauer loves danger (sorry, got sucked into a “24” rerun the other day)….
• The Lakers and Hawks are the two playoff-bound teams that have struggled the most beating other playoff teams this season. In the Lakers case, it’s hard to read much into that because they are playing with a better sense of identity and health lately. As for the Hawks… they’re still the Hawks.
• Houston’s Thomas Robinson talks about how he puts his family before everything else.
• Pau Gasol could be back practicing with the Lakers next week.
• Dennis Rodman was in Vatican City for the papal conclave. I’m sure Rodman believes that’s why they got a selection done so quickly.
• Caron Butler starts for the Clippers at the three, but they are better when Matt Barnes plays. That makes Barnes the potential key to any long Clippers playoff run.
• Brandon Bass has been the whipping boy of some Celtics fans, but he’s played well for a few games and they are going to need him come the playoffs.
• The Blazers Nicolas Batum is playing through a lot of wrist pain.
• Kentucky’s star center Nerlens Noel underwent knee surgery Tuesday. That’s not going to impact his draft status much if at all — this was a fairly routine knee surgery and you’re drafting the player for who he will be three years from now, not who he is draft night.
• Speaking of surgeries, Austin Rivers had his wrist surgery this week and according to reports it went well. He is done for the season but he should be ready to go for Summer League.
• A lot of people wondered exactly what the Jazz were doing not moving Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson at the deadline. Zach Lowe at Grantland has a good explanation.
• Sixers coach Doug Collins met with new Eagles coach Chip Kelly. And didn’t try to talk him out of the job.
• Chris Kaman doesn’t like his lack of playing time in Dallas.
• Up in Seattle, Chris Hansen (the guy trying to buy the Kings and move them north) is compiling a potential season ticket holder list to impress the league.
• Here’s some thoughts on who future top-5 pick Cody Zeller could have as an agent.
• Aquille Carr is a potential future NBA player and is going the Brandon Jennings route of skipping college ball (Seton Hall) to play overseas for a year.
• The Cavaliers assigned Kevin Jones to the D-League.
Nick Nurse got the Toronto Raptors to their first ever NBA Finals appearance. The Raptors beat Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night. Already a budding Legend in Canada, it appears that Nurse is going to increase his sway in Ontario.
According to multiple reports, Nurse will become the head coach of the Canadian men’s national basketball team. He will also hold executive duties for that organization.
And the kicker? Nurse will also apparently have more involvement and interaction with Drake’s brand OVO.
Everything is coming up roses for Nurse. If he can eat some tape and figure out a way to slow down the Warriors the way he did with Antetokounmpo, he might just be able to give the two-time defending champions a run for their money.
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has reportedly suffered a stroke but is resting comfortably in the care of medical professionals.
According to the Detroit News, Gilbert was hospitalized on Sunday morning after evidencing stroke-like symptoms. His current condition is not known, but his company released a statement saying his family was seeking privacy.
Via Detroit News:
“He received immediate medical attention and is currently recovering comfortably,” said a statement issued by the Quicken Loans family of companies following inquiries from The News. “Our collective thoughts and prayers are with Dan for a speedy recovery.”
Details of his diagnosis and prognosis were not released; the family requested privacy.
Gilbert, 57, is the founder of Quicken Loans and the majority owner of the Cavs. He was scheduled to speak on Wednesday at a conference on Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan. It’s unclear if Gilbert will be keeping that appearance date as we don’t yet know the severity of his injuries.
The often-bombastic Cavaliers owner has made waves over the years, most recognizably with his Comic Sans letter. Recently, Gilbert said that he felt the Kyrie Irving trade was a winner for his team, and that Irving was likely to leave the Boston Celtics.
Gilbert has owned the Cavs since 2005.
The Toronto Raptors are headed to the 2019 NBA Finals, and they are going to need every player on their roster if they want a chance at dethroning the Golden State Warriors.
Forward OG Anunoby has been out since early April after needing an emergency appendectomy. He has not played in the playoffs yet this season, but a new report says the Raptors may be hopeful he could return before the end of this final series.
Anunoby Is a useful second-year forward who plays hard on both ends of the floor. Toronto is going to have a hard time matching up with the Warriors defensively, whether Kevin Durant plays or not. Having Anunoby available would help Toronto be more switchable and more adept at taking on some of Golden State’s smaller lineups.
We don’t have a timetable for Anunoby’s potential return yet, but the way the Finals are spaced out (Game 1 is on Thursday, Game 2 is next Sunday) it could help get players healthy and ready.
That could be good news for Kawhi Leonard, who sat out several games this year simply to rest. Leonard has looked a little banged up through these playoffs, as has just about everyone else. The bad news for Toronto is that this time between games could also help the Warriors get Durant ready to play.
Game 1 of the 2019 NBA Finals is on Thursday at 6 p.m. PST in Canada.
People are already getting tired of Drake being a prominent figure in the storyline of the Toronto Raptors. They will have to just deal with it for now as Toronto is headed to the 2019 NBA Finals after beating the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Saturday night.
That said, Drake is actually an ambassador for the Raptors. Some folks seem to forget that.
There was a dust-up during the Eastern Conference Finals about Drake having given Raptors coach Nick Nurse a shoulder rub during Game 4. Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer thought that fans shouldn’t be interacting with members of the coaching staff or players, but the Raptors didn’t seem to think it was that big a deal.
After the Raptors won on Saturday, Drake embraced Nurse yet again, playing off of the initial kerfuffle.
Get ready to see more Drake than you’ve ever wanted.